A suicide bomber hit a NATO convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing three troops and wounding 13 Afghan civilians in one of the biggest blasts in the area for months.
The attack occurred in heavy morning traffic outside of the Supreme Court, on a road that led from the airport to the U.S. embassy. Tensions have been high in the capital over a long-standing presidential election stalemate and rising insurgency as foreign military troops prepare to leave.
The Guardian reports:
With the government paralyzed for months, it has also emboldened the Taliban insurgents, weakened the fragile economy and put future international military and aid support at risk.
Kabul has been regularly hit by complex Taliban attacks on the airport, luxury hotels, restaurants and foreign compounds.
In August, four civilians were killed in a similar attack on a NATO convoy in the city. No soldiers died in that blast, which wounded at least 35 bystanders.
"We can confirm three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members died as a result of an enemy attack in Kabul today," the coalition said after the blast, although the nationality of the dead soldiers was not confirmed. "It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. "[A] powerful explosion destroyed 1 military vehicle, killing/wounding a number of American terrorists," Taliban spokesman Abdulqahar Balkhi said on one of the group's official Twitter accounts.
The blast reportedly shook buildings, shattered store windows, and sent clouds of smoke through the area. Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai said at least 13 civilians were wounded and 17 civilian cars were damaged.