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Kabul Suicide Bomber Kills 4 in Attack on Military Convoy

  • VOA News

A U.S. military helicopter flies over the site of a suicide bomb attack on a NATO convoy in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2017.

A suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed at least four people Thursday night in an attack on a convoy of foreign troops between Kabul and the largest American base in the country.

Initial reports said three Afghan civilians had died during the attack. U.S. officials announced later that one soldier from NATO's Resolute Support mission was among the dead. More than a dozen people, both civilians and soldiers, were wounded.

The Taliban told journalists the bomber was one of its men.

Thursday's attack followed a Taliban attack in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province that killed at least two American soldiers; the insurgents claimed the casualty toll was far higher.

An Afghan policeman stands guard near the site of a suicide bomb attack on a NATO convoy in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2017.
An Afghan policeman stands guard near the site of a suicide bomb attack on a NATO convoy in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 2, 2017.

The convoy that came under attack Thursday was made up of both Afghan and NATO troops, traveling through Kabul's Qarabagh district near Bagram Airfield, the largest concentration of U.S. forces in the country.

The military statement indicated the assailant detonated a suicide vest he was wearing.

Five NATO troops and one Afghan interpreter were wounded by the explosion and were taken to the U.S. military hospital at Bagram, about 50 kilometers from the Afghan capital. All were reported in stable condition.

Others who were wounded were taken to an Italian-run hospital in Kabul that specializes in treating bombing victims. A report from the hospital soon after the suicide attack said 12 people were being treated "so far."

None of the victims of Thursday's attack were identified.

The attack on Wednesday killed two American soldiers and wounded four others near the Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan, site of a major military base for international troops helping Afghan security forces' fight to contain the Taliban insurgency.

The NATO coalition base houses up to 13,000 troops from 39 countries who train, advise and assist Afghan forces.

U.S. authorities have not identified the Americans killed in Kandahar, but a grieving father in the state of Indiana said his 23-year-old son, an Army sergeant, was one of them.

Mark Hunter said his son, Jonathon, was a member of the security detail for the convoy that was attacked. Sergeant Hunter left the United States on July 1 for his first deployment in Afghanistan.

An online account of the Kandahar attack by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the insurgent drove his explosives-laden car into the convoy, killing 15 foreign soldiers. Such Taliban reports often are exaggerated.

A Reuters journalist at the scene said one armored vehicle and one other vehicle were badly damaged in the blast. NATO military helicopters made at least four flights from the Kandahar base to the attack scene to secure the area and remove wreckage.

FILE - In this June. 18, 2017, photo, security forces are deployed to the site of a suicide attack between Taliban insurgents and government forces near the main police station in eastern Paktia province, Afghanistan.
FILE - In this June. 18, 2017, photo, security forces are deployed to the site of a suicide attack between Taliban insurgents and government forces near the main police station in eastern Paktia province, Afghanistan.

The Taliban's summer "fighting season" is now at its peak, and the increased pace in terrorist attacks coincides with U.S. military commanders' requests for several thousand additional troops to join the battle. Those requests are stalled in Washington, according to military analysts, since President Donald Trump has expressed opposition to overextending the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.

In a rare move, Pakistan's military chief Thursday condemned the Taliban attack in Kandahar as terrorism. General Qamar Javed Bajwa said in a statement, "We fully understand the loss and pain of victims' families, as Pakistan is undergoing a similar trail of blood in the fight against a common threat of terrorism."

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