KABUL: A car bomb attack on a US convoy in the Afghan capital on Friday, wounded four US service members and killed at least four Afghan civilians, officials said, in the second attack in the city in two days.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which came a day after the militant Islamic State group claimed a suicide attack outside a military training academy that killed at least six people.
A spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan confirmed that a car bomb hit a US convoy and four service members had suffered minor injuries in the explosion but gave no other details.
An interior ministry spokesman said four Afghan civilians had been killed.
The blast sent a plume of white smoke into the air and spread debris across the busy Jalalabad road in the city’s east, an area with several large security compounds which has seen repeated attacks over the years.
But other officials said as many as nine people had been killed with varying estimates of the number of wounded.
“I was hit in the head by flying glass and many people have suffered injuries,” said Abdul Qayum, who was wearing a bandage around his head.
The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement the attack targeted a convoy of “senior foreign advisers”, killing 10 and destroying two vehicles.
Witnesses said at least three armoured Land Cruiser vehicles were in the convoy, one of which was heavily damaged in the explosion and removed from the scene by crane as Afghan and US troops guarded the scene while firefighters cleaned up.
Kabul has been on high alert in recent days, with security checkpoints reinforced, despite increased diplomatic efforts to open a peace process to end 18 years of war in Afghanistan.
Friday’s attack, shortly before next week’s Eidul Fitr holiday, came as a delegation of Taliban officials met senior Afghan politicians in Moscow this week for discussions which the main Taliban spokesman said had made good progress.
The Taliban have been talking with US diplomats for several months to agree a withdrawal of more than 20,000 US and Nato coalition troops in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks.
Following a ceasefire last year over the Eid holiday, there had been hopes that a truce would be agreed for this year’s holiday, which comes at the end of Ramazan.
But Taliban officials have said that did not appear likely.When US forces move about in Kabul, they typically travel in tall, heavily reinforced tactical vehicles that can provide good protection against bombs.
Known as MRAPs, for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected, the vehicles are sturdy but present a very visible target.Witnesses said the explosion was powerful, blowing out windows in neighbouring buildings. Traffic on the streets was light because the bombing occurred on a Friday, the weekly day off.