20 die in Afghanistan suicide blast (Lead)

May 18th, 2010 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, May 18 (DPA) At least 20 deaths were reported Tuesday in a suicide bombing that was carried out in front of the US-founded Counterinsurgency Academy in Kabul, security officials said.
An Afghan army officer at the scene who did not want to be named said 20 people, including eight Americans, were killed.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said, however, that 12 Afghan civilians were killed in the blast and 47 injured. Most of them were travelling on a bus that was hit by the blast during the morning rush hour, it said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said there had been deaths but did not give details of numbers or nationalities.

ISAF spokesman Brigadier Josef Blotz said the bomb had killed “plenty of soldiers and an even larger number of civilians” but said it was too early for concrete details.

“ISAF Joint Command is working with our Afghan partners to assess an explosion that took place this morning on the Darulaman Road in Kabul,” a NATO statement said.

Mistari Daoud, a witness who was working at a nearby construction site, said four Afghan workers died in the incident. He said one US military vehicle and nine other vehicles were destroyed.

The blast occurred in western Kabul at the Counterinsurgency Academy situated in Camp Julien near parliament and other government buildings. Afghan and US troops are quartered in the camp.

The attack happened as President Hamid Karzai was scheduled to hold a press conference after his recent visit to the United States.

The ISAF said police had cordoned off the area and an investigation would be conducted.

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