A suicide car bomb targeted a foreign military convoy in Kabul today,killing 16 people including six NATO personnel and two children in the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital for nearly a year.
The powerful explosion,which struck at 8:00 am local time in the Shah Shaheed southeastern residential district,also injured 37 passers-by including many children going to school,officials said.
In total eight Afghans died,along with two NATO soldiers and four NATO contractors who were travelling through the citys busy rush hour traffic. Hezb-i-Islami,an insurgent group that is independent from Taliban militant forces,claimed responsibility for the attack.
One NATO sports utility vehicle was completely destroyed in the blast and surrounding streets were quickly cordoned off as US troops arrived at the scene. Schoolgirls fled the area in tears as the clean-up operation began. Afghan health ministry official Sayed Kabir Amiri said local hospitals confirmed nine Afghans had died and 35 were injured. Two children aged six and 10 were among the dead. Some of the bodies are badly damaged and cant be identified, Amiri added.
NATOs US-led International Security Assistance Force ISAF said in a statement that two soldiers and four ISAF-contracted civilians died.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack,saying it was the work of terrorists and enemies of Afghanistans peace.