A female suicide car bomber attacked a van in Kabul Tuesday, killing 12 people, including eight South Africans, in an assault insurgents said was in revenge for an anti-Islam film made in America.
The bombing on a highway leading to Kabul international airport was the second suicide attack in the heavily fortified city in 10 days, reviving questions about stability as Nato accelerates a troop withdrawal and hands over to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
It came as officers revealed that Western troops are scaling back joint operations with Afghans after 51 Nato soldiers were shot dead this year by their local colleagues, a setback for the war strategy that focuses on training Afghans to take over.
“At around 6:45am (0215 GMT), a suicide bomber using a sedan blew herself up along the airport road in District 15. As a result, nine workers of a foreign company and three Afghan civilians are dead, and two police are wounded,” police said in a statement.
An Afghan and a Western security official said nine foreigners were killed. The South African foreign ministry said eight of its citizens were among the dead. The foreigners were from a private company working at the airport.
A spokesman for Nato’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said it had no reports that its personnel were among the casualties.
Afghanistan’s second largest insurgent group, Hezb-i-Islami, claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by a woman to avenge the Innocence of Muslims film.
Meanwhile, al Qaeda’s branch in North Africa has called for attacks on US diplomats and an escalation of protests against the anti-Islam video. Al Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb praised the killing of Christopher Stevens