13 ISAF soldiers among 18 dead in Kabul attack
KABUL (PAN): Thirteen International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops were among 18 people killed in a car suicide bombing in Afghanistan's heavily fortified capital Kabul on Saturday, officials said.
The attacker detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near a convoy of foreign troops in front of the Afghan National Army (ANA) Recruitment Centre at around 11:30am, Kabul police criminal investigation department chief, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahir, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
"Initial reports indicate that 13 International Security Assistance Force servicemembers died following an improvised explosive device attack in Kabul earlier today," the NATO-led force said in a brief statement.
In line with its policy, the multinational force did not give the victims' nationalities. With the latest fatalities, the number of international soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far during the current has gone up to 512.
Witnesses said foreign soldiers, Afghan civilians and at least one policeman were among those killed in the massive explosion. One man, who did not want to be named, claimed seeing the mutilated bodies of foreign troops at the scene.
He said the dead bodies of a child, a woman and two men were also lying at the site of the attack. Another witness, Ahmad Farid, said: "A US military vehicle turned turtle due to the explosion."
Farid had no information about casualties inflicted on ISAF soldiers, saying a motorised-rickshaw driver was killed and another civilian wounded in the attack.
Istiqlal Hospital Director Dr. Ali Aishan confirmed receiving two bodies and eight injured people. The dead included a policeman and a civilian, he said, adding two children and as many civilians were among the injured.
A Pajhwok reporter at the scene saw two helicopters airlifting some of the injured and dead bodies.
Brig. Gen. Mohammad Zahir said the dead included civilians and foreign troops, but he had no specific figure.
The attack happened 200 metres from a gathering of parliamentarians, who were marking the fourth death anniversary of their colleagues killed in a 2007 suicide attack in northern Baghlan province. The blast shattered window glasses of the building.
As usual, the Taliban immediately claimed responsibility for the suicide assault. Rebel spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said 25 foreign soldiers and an Afghan civilian had been killed. He also acknowledged injuries to three civilians.
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