Taliban claim Kabul suicide attack, toll rises to 17 | world | Hindustan Times
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Taliban claim Kabul suicide attack, toll rises to 17

world Updated: Oct 08, 2009 23:37 IST

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for a massive suicide car bomb that targeted the Indian embassy on Thursday killing 17 people and injuring another 63, most of them civilians.

In a statement on its website, the Islamist insurgent group said that one of its "martyrs" had carried out the attack, and said that the Indian embassy in the heavily-fortified central diplomatic area "was the main target".

The attack took place just after 8:30 am (0400 GMT) on a busy street outside the interior ministry.

The ministry's spokesman told AFP the toll had risen from an initial 12 to 17, including two police officers and 15 civilians.

Zemarai Bashary said that 50 civilians were among the wounded, with 13 police officers also injured.

The Taliban statement, as is usual when it claims responsibility for suicide attacks, exaggerated the extent of the damage and the death toll.

The dead, it said, "included a few high ranking officials of the embassy, 35 soldiers of foreign and Afghan nationality.

"The explosion caused damage to the walls of the Indian embassy, which was the main target," the statement added.

It identified the suicide bomber as "Khalid" from the Paghman district of Kabul province.

In a statement, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the perpetrators "barbaric" and said: "This is a terrorist attack, and an obvious attack on defenceless Afghan civilians."

It was the fifth audacious attack on the Afghan capital in two months, as the Taliban brings its intensifying anti-government insurgency to the most heavily-fortified part of the country.