Suicide bomber targets Italian troops in Afghanistan (Lead)

October 18th, 2008 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanKabul, Oct 18 (DPA) A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of NATO-led forces in western Afghanistan Saturday, wounding four soldiers, officials said Saturday.The bomber attacked Italian troops near an airport on the outskirts of the capital of Herat province, regional police spokesman Abdul Raouf Ahmadi said.

“The bomber died in the attack, and one of the Italian military tanks was thrown out of the main road, because the blast was very powerful,” Ahmadi said.

A spokeswoman for NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul confirmed the attack and said there were troop casualties, but she declined to provide more details.

However, a senior police official in Herat province, who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to talk to media, said four Italian soldiers were wounded in the blast.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Taliban militants who lost power in late 2001 in a US military invasion have carried out hundreds of similar attacks.

Around 2,400 Italian troops are station in Afghanistan, with most of them in western region. The soldiers are part of more than 50,000 ISAF forces deployed in the country from 40 nations following the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Western provinces including Herat have been relatively peaceful compared to southern and eastern regions, where the Taliban insurgents are the most active.

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