A suicide car bomber struck a military convoy in Kabul, killing 16
people, including six Italian soldiers. This is the fourth attack of
its kind in the Afghan capital in the past month and the deadliest
strike the Italian forces have suffered in Afghanistan.
Afghan authorities say an Italian military convoy was traveling from the Kabul airport to its base in the city when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-filled car into it, causing a huge explosion.
The blast blew out windows in buildings around the scene in the center of the capital city. An Afghan man who witnessed the attack gave its details to reporters.
He says he saw the suicide bomber driving his car towards the convoy. Foreign soldiers warned him to stop, says the eyewitness, but the driver ignored the warning and then there was a big explosion.
Witnesses reported several wrecked Italian military vehicles, while Afghan soldiers at the scene carried dozens of wounded civilians to ambulances.
Taliban militants immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, one of the fourth of its kind in Kabul in the past month. Earlier, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosives-filled car outside the main gate of a NATO military base inside the city's only airport. In August, a suicide bomber struck outside the NATO's headquarters in Kabul, killing at least nine people.
Thursday's attack is said to have caused shock in Italy where the parliament held a minute's silence in honor of the victims.
There are more than 100,000 Western troops are in Afghanistan, most of them American. An estimated 2,500 come from Italy, but they are kept out of the main combat zones in southern and eastern Afghan provinces.
Taliban militants have stepped up attacks on foreign forces in recent months. July and August have been the deadliest months for international forces in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led anti-terror fight began in late 2001.