Three including foreigner killed in Kabul suicide attack
KABUL, Afghanistan (UPDATED) – Three people including a foreigner working with a European Union police unit were killed when a Taliban car bomber struck a foreign convoy Sunday, May 17, the latest attack of Afghanistan's fighting season.
At least 18 people were wounded in the attack, which comes 3 days after 14 people – mostly foreigners – were killed in a Taliban assault on a Kabul guest house that trapped dozens attending a concert.
The suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car against the convoy near Kabul airport during Sunday morning rush hour. The convoy included two vehicles of the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL).
"A suicide bomber detonated his Toyota sedan targeting a foreign forces convoy near Kabul airport today at 9 am," Kabul police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi told Agence France-Presse.
"The target of the attacker was the foreign forces convoy. So far we have two women dead, 18 others wounded, all of them civilians," he said, adding that three children were among those wounded.
A foreigner working with EUPOL was also killed, a spokesman for the unit told Agence France-Press without specifying his nationality.
"All we can say at this moment is that two of EUPOL's vehicles were there at the time of the attack. The one killed inside a vehicle was a foreigner who worked for EUPOL," said Aziz Basam, senior press officer.
Three mission members who were also in the vehicle suffered injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening, EUPOL said in a separate statement.
An Agence France-Press photographer at the scene saw troops hauling away the body of a person in military-style uniform, pulled out from the twisted wreck of a badly damaged sedan.
Taliban insurgents, who launched their spring offensive across Afghanistan late last month, claimed responsibility for the attack.
"A suicide attack carried out on foreign forces near the gate of Kabul airport," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter.
Afghan forces are facing their first fighting season against the Taliban without the full support of US-led foreign combat troops.
Deputy interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said three civilian vehicles, one of them belonging to foreign troops, were damaged at the site of the attack.
Afghan forces in charge
Khalilullah Hodkhil, the deputy head of Wazir Akbar Khan hospital, said he had so far received the bodies of two young girls and 19 wounded people.
"All of them are civilians, including women and children," he told Agence France-Press.
"They are under treatment and their wounds are not life-threatening."
The attack came after NATO on Wednesday, May 13, formally announced plans to retain a small military presence in Afghanistan after 2016 to help strengthen local security forces.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the future mission would be led by civilians and "will have a light footprint, but... (with) a military component".
Afghan forces are now solely responsible for security after NATO's combat mission formally ended in December, with a small follow-up force staying on to train and support local personnel.
A Taliban suicide bomb hit a European Union police vehicle in Kabul in early January, killing at least one passer-by but not wounding any passengers.
The Taliban have waged a 13-year war to topple the US-backed government in Afghanistan. Official efforts to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table have so far borne little fruit. – Shah Marai, AFP / Rappler.com