Suicide bomb rocks Kabul's German embassy

A suicide bomb near Kabul's German embassy has killed four civilians and one US soldier, Afghan officials said. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack.


AFP - Two suicide bombs rocked Afghanistan on Saturday, killing five civilians and wounding dozens of people including a US soldier who later died of his injuries, officials said.

One of the bombers struck outside the German embassy in Kabul and just 100 metres (yards) from the biggest US military camp in the Afghan capital, killing four civilians and fatally wounding the soldier.

It was the first suicide blast to hit Kabul this year after a series of bloody attacks on the city in 2008.

"The latest update from the hospital says that four civilians were martyred and 19 others injured," the interior ministry said in a statement.

One of the dead was a child, defence ministry spokesman General Mohammad Zahir Azimi told reporters at the scene.

The Taliban movement claimed responsibility for both blasts.

Five US soldiers and an American civilian, apparently a contractor, were wounded in the Kabul blast, according to the US military, which initially said two soldiers had been killed but later revised this statement.

One of the wounded soldiers was a woman, an AFP photographer said.

Witnesses described scenes of carnage after the blast, with vehicles ablaze as wounded passers-by lay in the street screaming for help.

Mohammad Babur, said he arrived at the scene minutes after the blast following a call from his brother who was among the wounded.

"I saw one dead body which was badly shattered. I saw several wounded," he said.

Another witness, Ranjeet, said some of the wounded were municipal cleaners.

"I saw four, five people, municipality workers, lying on the street. They were screaming and asking for help. Later ambulances came and picked them up," he told AFP.

The German embassy in Kabul refused to comment but a foreign ministry official in Berlin said several staff were injured.

"From what we know for now, there are several injured among the staff and the building sustained damage," a ministry spokesman said.

The blast blew out windows at the base, but US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christian Kubik told AFP there was no significant damage.

"The camp was not breached," Kubik said.

Hours later, another suicide attacker rammed an explosives-laden car into a police jeep which was accompanying a US-led coalition convoy in the eastern province of Nangarhar, a local spokesman said.

One civilian passer-by was killed and six other people including three policemen were injured in the blast in Chaparhar district of the restive province, Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the local government said.

The Taliban, an extremist Islamic group, ran the government in Kabul from 1996 to 2001 and are now waging a deadly insurgency to take back power.

The Afghan capital suffered a rash of attacks last year, fuelling fears that the insurgency, which sees most violence in the south and east of the country, was encroaching on the capital.

On November 27 a suicide car bomb also claimed by the Taliban blew up near the US embassy and killed four Afghan civilians.

The worst suicide attack on the capital was in July last year when an explosives-packed vehicle rammed into the gates of the Indian embassy, causing an explosion that killed around 60 people including two Indian diplomats.

Last year was the worst of the insurgency and military commanders have called for more troops and equipment.

The new administration of US president-elect Barack Obama is expected to send in up to 30,000 more troops in the next few months, almost doubling the number of US soldiers in the country.

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