Twelve dead in Kabul suicide car bombing
Kabul: A Taliban suicide car bombing in Kabul on Thursday killed a US service member, a Romanian soldier and at least 10 Afghan civilians in a busy diplomatic area that includes the US Embassy the second such attack this week underscoring Afghan government warnings that a preliminary US-Taliban deal on ending America's longest war was moving dangerously quickly.
"Peace with a group that is still killing innocent people is meaningless," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said in a statement. A NATO Resolute Support mission statement said the two service members were "killed in action", without providing details or releasing their names pending notification of their families.
The American soldier was the fourth US service member killed in the past two weeks in Afghanistan.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said another 42 people were wounded and 12 vehicles destroyed. Hours later, the Taliban set off a car bomb outside an Afghan military base in a neighbouring province, killing four civilians.
The Taliban said they targeted vehicles of "foreigners" as they tried to enter the heavily guarded Shashdarak area in Kabul where Afghan national security authorities have offices.
The NATO Resolute Support mission is nearby, and British soldiers were at the scene, retrieving what appeared to be the remains of a NATO vehicle.
Footage widely shared on social media showed the suicide bomber's vehicle turning into the checkpoint and exploding and a passer-by trying to sprint away just seconds before.
"We all saw on security camera who were targeted!" presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi tweeted. Once again, stunned civilians made up most of the victims. "I don't know who brought us to the hospital and how," said one of the wounded, Nezamuddin Khan, who was knocked unconscious and woke up in a local hospital.
The explosion at the checkpoint, which has been targeted in the past, follows a Taliban attack against a foreign compound late Monday that killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 100, almost all of them local civilians.
An Associated Press reporter on the phone with the US Embassy when Thursday's blast occurred heard sirens begin blaring there.
Hours later, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bombing outside an Afghan military base in the Logar provincial capital, Puli Alam, which houses members of the Afghan special forces.
Provincial council chief Haseebullah Stanekzai said a small number of international forces also had been in the area. Governor Anwar Khan Es-Haqzai said four civilians were killed and four others wounded.