Suicide car bomb in Kabul kills 2 civilians

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Kabul, Nov 27: A suicide car bomb targeting a US military convoy in the Afghan capital Kabul killed two civilians today, a senior police official said.

Several people were also wounded by the blast in central Kabul outside a Defence Ministry building and close to the British, Canadian and Pakistani embassies.

Two white armoured Toyota Land Cruisers belonging to the US force which trains Afghan troops were damaged by the blast which shattered windows across a wide area.

Wreckage burned in a metre-wide crater in the road, but little remained of the attacker's car except the smouldering engine some 10 metres (yards) away.

The blackened body of an Afghan civilian lay nearby covered with a prayer rug. Another Afghan, a security guard, was also killed by the explosion, a senior police official said.

''There was no one injured from our convoy,'' Lieutenant Colonel David Johnson of the Combined Security Transition Command told Reuters. ''Our convoy was on a routine mission.'' It was the fifth suicide attack in the Afghan capital in two months. Nearly 60 people have been killed in the attacks in Kabul which serve to undermine public confidence in the ability of the government and foreign troops to bring security to Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Hizb-e Islami armed group of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar claimed responsibility for the attack. While allied to the Taliban, Hizb-e Islami has carried out few, if any, suicide attacks.

A hardline Islamist, Hekmatyar was one of the major mujahideen warlords fighting against the 1979-89 Soviet occupation and then led his fighters against other factions in a civil war that lasted until the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996.

Hekmatyar then fled to exile in Iran where he remained until after US-led and Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The warlord returned to Afghanistan and allied himself with the Taliban to fight the Afghan government and foreign forces. Much smaller than the Taliban, Hizb-e Islami is active in a small patch of territory near the Pakistan border.

The Taliban has killed at least 200 civilians in around 140 suicide bombs this year in their campaign to overthrow the pro-Western Afghan government and eject the 50,000 foreign troops from the country.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan this year with more clashes, roadside bombs, suicide attacks and casualties as compared to 2006.


Reuters>

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