Thu, May 04, 2017 - Page 6 News List

IS claims NATO convoy attack in Kabul

ASSAULT:The explosion near the US embassy killed at least eight people and injured 28, with the militants claiming it was a suicide car bomb, while NATO said it was an IED

AFP, KABUL

A powerful blast targeting an armored NATO convoy in Kabul yesterday killed at least eight people and wounded 28, including three coalition members, officials said in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The explosion, which came during morning rush hour on a busy road near the US embassy and NATO headquarters, killed “mostly” civilians, an Afghan Ministry of the Interior spokesman said, without giving a breakdown.

NATO said three coalition service members had received “non-life threatening wounds” in the attack.

“[They] are in stable condition and are currently being treated at coalition medical facilities,” a spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan said, without confirming their nationalities.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blast via its Amaq propaganda agency, saying the eight dead were all US soldiers. The militants are known to exaggerate their claims.

The attack comes three weeks after the US dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on IS hideouts in eastern Afghanistan.

NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said the strike, which triggered global shockwaves, showed there was “no space” for IS in the war-torn country.

Yesterday’s blast, which IS said was a suicide car bomb and NATO said was an improvised explosive device (IED), damaged two of the heavily armored vehicles in the convoy and left a small crater in the road, witnesses and an Agence France-Presse photographer said.

Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, which are designed to withstand large explosions, are routinely used by international forces moving around Kabul. At least three civilian cars were also damaged, with one ablaze, while windows were shattered up to several hundred meters away. Firefighters and ambulances rushed stunned survivors to hospital.

Nicholson has said the US decision to drop the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast on IS hideouts in Nangarhar Province last month was a “very clear message” to the group: “If they come to Afghanistan they will be destroyed.”

Some observers have condemned the move against a militant group that is not considered as big a threat to Afghanistan as the Taliban.

Others suggested it would boost the Taliban, who have been in a turf war with IS in Nangarhar.

The weapon, dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs,” killed at least 95 militants, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said, but fighting in the area has continued.

Last week, two US troops were killed in an operation against IS near where the bomb was dropped. The Pentagon has said it is investigating if they were killed by friendly fire.

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