Authorities in Afghanistan say a massive suicide car bomb Saturday in Kabul killed at least 12 people, including three Americans, and wounded scores. The Taliban has denied involvement
Eyewitnesses and officials say that a NATO convoy was travelling through a residential area of the Afghan capital during late afternoon rush hour when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car near it.
Kabul police chief General Abdul Rahman Rahimi told reporters that the attacker set off the blast near a private hospital where large numbers of civilians were gathered.
The police chief said: “Most of those killed were locals (Afghans) while four foreigners were also killed or wounded.”
The International military mission, in a later statement, confirmed that three American civilian contractors were killed "as a result of a vehicle-born improvised explosive device on their convoy in Kabul."
The powerful explosion destroyed more than a dozen vehicles and damaged nearby homes and businesses in Kabul's Macro Rayan neighborhood.
The Taliban insurgency has denied it had anything to do with the bombing. The group’s main spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said no such activity was planned for Saturday in Kabul.
The United Nations’ office in Kabul has strongly condemned the violence and again called for an immediate halt to “all such disproportionate attacks in civilian populated areas in Afghanistan.”
Separately, the U.S. Embassy also denounced the killing of three members of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission as well as many Afghan civilians. It said that the United States remains committed to assisting Afghan partners in their efforts to ensure a peaceful future for Afghanistan.
Attacks, mostly by the Taliban, have increased in and around Kabul since late July when the Afghan government and the Taliban both confirmed that the Islamist insurgency’s longstanding supreme leader, Mullah Omar, had died two years ago.
The disclosure led to the suspension of a peace dialogue between the Afghan government and Taliban officials. The developments have dashed hopes of lowering violence and ending the Afghan war.
The rise in attacks has also dashed hopes that the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mansour, would quickly return to the negotiating table for ending the war in Afghanistan.
The bloodshed has also strained the country’s ties with neighboring Pakistan following Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s accusations earlier this month that Islamabad is not doing enough to stop Taliban insurgents from organizing and planning attacks from training camps across the border, something Pakistani authorities deny.