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Suicide bomber hits NATO convoy

A suicide bomber in a car struck a NATO-Afghan military convoy, killing one civilian and wounding two others.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 16:32 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

A suicide bomber in a car struck a NATO-Afghan military convoy on Tuesday, killing one civilian and wounding two others, a day after a bomb at a market left 17 civilians dead and 47 wounded, officials said.

Tuesday's bomber hit the convoy on the main road linking Kandahar with the city's airport, said Col Sher Shah, who was in the convoy. No NATO soldiers were injured, he said.

The civilian driving near the convoy died in the blast, while another civilian and an Afghan soldier were wounded, Shah said, adding that the bodies of the civilian and the bomber lay on the road.

Also on Tuesday, a remote-controlled bomb went off in east Kabul shortly after a NATO vehicle patrol drove past, but there were no casualties, said Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai.

On Monday, another bomber targeting a former police chief blew himself up in a market in neighbouring Helmand province, killing 17 people and wounding 47, according to the provincial governor's spokesman.

That blast wrecked shop fronts and left body parts and blood-soaked turbans among shattered glass in the bazaar of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

All the 17 dead were civilians, and 15 children were among the wounded, said spokesman Ghulam Muheddin.

NATO and the United Nations also characterised the bombing as a suicide attack.

Nevertheless, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, said Monday's attack was conducted with a remote-controlled bomb, and that it targeted a former Lashkar Gah police chief because he had served under the pro-communist government during the Soviet occupation of the 1980s.

The target and his son were killed. "We are very sad about the civilian casualties," Ahmadi said in a phone call from an undisclosed location to an agency reporter in Kandahar.

"We only wanted to kill this former police chief." Taliban rebels rely on civilians to provide them with shelter and sanctuary during their insurgency against foreign and Afghan troops, particularly in their former southern heartland.

Ahmadi often calls journalists to claim responsibility for attacks, though his exact ties to the Taliban leadership are unclear.

It was not immediately clear why Ahmadi's account of the attack conflicted with the other reports that it was a suicide bombing.

The attack was the second major bombing to kill civilians this month in southern Afghanistan, where insurgents are battling NATO-led troops and Afghan forces trying to extend the weak control of the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Afghanistan is undergoing its bloodiest period of fighting since the US-led ousted the hard-line Taliban regime in late 2001 for hosting Osama bin Laden.

The Taliban have increased suicide attacks this year, borrowing tactics from militants in Iraq. The escalation in the Taliban insurgency has stoked bitter fighting.

More than 1,600 people, mostly militants, have died across Afghanistan in the past four months, according to an agency tally of reports by US, NATO and Afghan officials.

Meanwhile, two New Zealand soldiers serving in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province have been airlifted to a military hospital after being injured in a road accident, a New Zealand defence spokesman said on Tuesday.

First Published: Aug 29, 2006 12:36 IST