Suicide bombers kill 12 and injure 59 as Taleban target US personnel
TWO suicide bombers, one driving a fuel tanker, blew themselves up near an American base in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, killing at least 12 people.
The attack around dawn took place in the town of Sayed Abad in Wardak province, about 40 miles from the capital Kabul.
The Nato coalition said that no American or coalition troops were killed in the blasts. It confirmed that a number of troops were wounded, but did not say how many, in accordance with coalition policy.
Shahidullah Shadid, a spokesman for the Wardak provincial governor, said one suicide bomber detonated a vest rigged with explosives outside a compound housing the district governor’s office as well as local police and Afghan army headquarters. A second bomber driving a fuel tanker detonated his bomb on a road separating the compound from the base. Shadid said the dead included eight civilians and four Afghan police.
Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said was aimed at the American base.
Government officials said the first attacker blew himself up to try to eliminate the Afghan security force guarding the compound and clear the way for the truck to hit the base down the road from the governor’s complex. The second bomber then blew up the fuel tanker as he was approaching the base. One of the town’s main bazaars is also located near the bomb site.
“A small explosion happened followed by a big one caused by a truck,” said eyewitness Hamidullah, who, like many Afghans, goes by one name. “In these explosions, a lot of people were wounded and also a large number of shops were destroyed. I fell down on the ground and everything around me was destroyed.”
Officials said the second blast was far larger than the first. “It was a very powerful explosion. It broke windows all over the area,” said provincial police chief General Abdul Qayum Bakizai. “Most of the injuries are from broken glass from the windows of homes and shops. It was so powerful we couldn’t find much of the truck.”
The governor’s office said in a statement that 59 people were wounded – two Nato troops, 47 civilians and ten Afghan police officers.
Last year, the same base in Wardak was the target of another suicide bombing. That blast, which occurred on the anniversary of the 11 September terrorist attacks against the United States, wounded 77 American soldiers and killed five Afghans. No US troops were killed when the massive truck bomb exploded outside the base.
In a separate incident yesterday, Nato said that two American soldiers were killed in eastern Ghazni province. It did not provide any further information or details about the deaths, the first this month.
A total of 53 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan in August. There are currently 129,000 troops serving with the coalition in the country.
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