Afghanistan car bomb, other blasts kill two, wound 22

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack

Kabul: A suicide car bomber rammed a NATO military convoy along a major road out of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, early on Monday, killing one Afghan civilian, authorities said.

Hours later, another suicide bomber killed a woman outside a clinic in a province east of Kabul and a third bomb exploded in a market on the capital's northern outskirts, wounding 22 people including three children, officials said.

The violence came as the Taliban and their militant allies step up attacks ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops at the end of the year.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack on the Jalalabad Road, a main thoroughfare with a U.S. military base and a housing compound for U.N. and other international contractors and aid workers.

At least three foreigners were wounded in the blast targeting their armored vehicles, but their identities were not known, police said. A spokesman for the U.S.-led NATO mission in Afghanistan said a patrol was attacked but there were no fatalities among the international force. The force does not confirm injuries.

The bomber in a Toyota Corolla car drove into the convoy just before 7 a.m., said Farid Afzali, head of Kabul's police investigation department. "As a result of the blast, one of our countrymen was killed and three foreigners slightly wounded," Afzali said.

Reuters television footage showed the remains of one of the white armored vehicles, its engine blackened and mangled and side door damaged. It was the second car-bomb attack on international forces in Kabul in a month.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Majahid said on Twitter that the target was a foreign military convoy and several troops were killed. The insurgents, who are fighting to expel foreign forces and re-establish their strict Islamist state driven from power in 2001, often exaggerate the results of their attacks.

The Taliban have been seeking to create instability ahead of this year's withdrawal of most foreign troops and also test the mettle of the newly trained Afghan security forces who will bear most of the fight next year.

In the eastern province of Nangarhar, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in front of a clinic killing a woman and wounded seven people, said the provincial governor's spokesman, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai.

A bomb planted in a crowded market in the Qarabagh district of Kabul wounded 22 civilians and five of them were in critical condition. Four children were among wounded, said district governor Samih Sharifi. The Taliban took advantage of weeks of political paralysis over a disputed election to regain territory in provinces such as Helmand in the south and Kunduz in the north.

President Ashraf Ghani appealed in his inauguration address late last month for the militants to join peace talks but they denounced his government for signing a security pact with the United States, calling it a "sinister" U.S. plot to control Afghanistan.

( Source : reuters )
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