Suicide attack targets US convoy in Kabul

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KABUL, Oct 6 (Reuters) A bomb killed two Afghan civilians and one US soldier in an attack on a US convoy in Kabul today, a US military spokesman said.

''It was a two-vehicle, armoured SUV convoy to the airport,'' said the spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Clint Larson.

''On the way to the airport we believe a Toyota minivan struck one of the SUVs. One US soldier was injured in the attack. He has since died of his wounds.'' He said it was not yet clear if it was a suicide bombing, similar to two others that have struck the Afghan capital in the past eight days. ''That is still under investigation,'' Larson said.

Two large, black Chevrolet four-wheel drive vehicles of the type usually used by non-military or diplomatic staff were hit by the blast, one witness reported. One of the vehicles rolled on its side and caught fire, the other received minor damage.

''I can see fire and smoke coming from the foreign vehicles,'' said the witness, Ghiasuddin Barez. ''The explosion took place about 100 metres in front of me. There were two black vehicles on fire and people running and screaming.'' ''The attack was on a US convoy,'' said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary. ''Two Afghan civilians were killed and one wounded. We are still investigating.'' Witnesses reported seeing a US soldier lying wounded on a stretcher and receiving first aid. There were no others injured in the incident, Larson said.

''I was sitting just over there reading a book,'' said another witness, Zekeria Jan. ''Suddenly, I heard a bang. I was shocked and fell to the ground. I saw two cars hit by a suicide bomber. Then I was unconscious so I don't know how many people were killed.'' After suffering heavy casualties in conventional battles, Taliban rebels have grown increasingly reliant in the last two years on suicide attacks aimed at convincing ordinary Afghans their government and its Western backers cannot provide security.

Afghanistan is going through its worst period of violence since US-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in 2001.

Reuters SZ GC1248

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