Suicide bomber attacks Italian convoy in Kabul, killing at least 6

KABUL, Afghanistan — A powerful suicide-bomb attack struck a convoy of Italian NATO troops Thursday along a major roadway in the heart of Afghanistan's capital, killing six service members and at least 10 civilians, NATO and Afghan officials said.

The vehicle-borne bomb, which exploded shortly after noon, also wounded more than 50 civilians, according to the Afghan Defense Ministry. Officials at NATO's International Security Assistance Force didn't identify the nationalities of the service members who were killed.

It was the third suicide-bomb attack in Kabul within the past five weeks. The attack occurred on a road that links the civilian airport to the heart of downtown, and was less than a mile from the heavily fortified entrance to the U.S. Embassy compound.

The bombing occurred at a time of intensified fighting in many areas of Afghanistan as NATO and Afghan forces combat a Taliban-led insurgency.

It came a day after the announcement of initial tallies of all votes in the presidential election Aug. 20, which put President Hamid Karzai on top with 54.6 percent.

The bomb destroyed at least five vehicles, throwing them to the side of the roadway. Nearby shops were damaged and shrapnel flew several blocks, high enough to shatter the fifth-story windows of the Afghan Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs.

One witness said the bomber drove a Toyota sedan that targeted the Italian convoy as it headed into Kabul. He said that as the bomb detonated, a huge explosion darkened the air.

"The blast was so powerful that a human being could not see another human being," said Enayatullah, who suffered wounds to his forehead, hands and foot. Like many Afghans, he has only one name.

Another man, Heyadullah, was at home when the blast hit, and returned to find his roadside pharmacy filled with glass and other debris from the blast. "My shop is destroyed. All my money is invested here," he said.

Bernton reports for The Seattle Times.


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