Suicide bomber targets NATO forces near Kabul airport (Second Lead)

September 8th, 2009 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, Sep 8 (DPA) The Taliban took responsibility for an attack in which a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-laden vehicle close to a NATO convoy near the military base at Kabul airport early Tuesday. An official said three civilians had been killed and seven injured.
“There was a suicide attack, which was carried out by an SUV vehicle against the eastern gate of the airport,” said Sayed Abdul Qafaar Sayedzada, head of the criminal investigative department of the Kabul police.

“Unfortunately three innocent people were killed and, according to the number I have, six others were wounded,” he told DPA at the blast site.

Zemarai Bashary, an interior ministry spokesman, had earlier said two civilians were killed, adding that two of the six people injured were in a critical condition.

Public health ministry spokesman Farid Rahid said city hospitals have received one body and seven injured people, all of them civilians.

The bomb left a large crater on the road close to a checkpoint manned by NATO troops at the eastern entrance of the airport.

Mohammad Nawroz, 45, who owns a small cafe near the airport and who was slightly wounded in the attack, said the explosion was louder than any sound he had ever heard.

“I was sitting here when there was a big bang and a piece of shrapnel hit my arm. I almost fainted, but when I got up all the windows of my shop were broken,” he said.

Air operations at the airport were temporarily suspended for several hours.

Ahmad Jamal, a witness, said the explosion took place as two NATO vehicles were entering the military base inside the airport.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the attack was carried out by one of its fighters, Mohammadullah, a resident of Mohammad Agha, a district in the south of Kabul.

“Three NATO vehicles were destroyed and 25 soldiers and military personnel were killed in the attack,” he told DPA by phone from an undisclosed location.

A NATO spokeswoman at the alliance’s headquarters confirmed the incident, but could not say if there were any NATO casualties.

The airport, located east of Kabul, serves both civilian and military purposes and is used as a base for international troops in Afghanistan.

The Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks on the capital by firing dozens of rockets and unleashing at least three suicide attacks on NATO forces in Kabul, which was relatively calm for months until the beginning of August.

A teenage girl and her parents were killed and two other daughters injured when a rocket, believed to have been fired by the Taliban, hit their house in the western part of Kabul Sunday night.

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