bomber attacks German troops near airport in Afghan capital
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[December 11, 2013]
By Mirwais Harooni
KABUL (Reuters) — A suicide bomber
attacked a convoy of German troops near the international airport in the
Afghan capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, a military official said, but there
were no immediate reports of casualties.
Confirmation of the attack from the NATO-led International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) came soon after a Reuters witness
reported a large blast near the sprawling and heavily guarded
facility, which is used by civilians and the military.
"We can confirm reports of a suicide bomber who attempted to attack
an ISAF convoy today," ISAF spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Latondra
"The attacker was killed and there were no ISAF casualties to
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message
sent by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. He claimed two German vehicles
were destroyed and "10 soldiers were killed and wounded". The
Taliban routinely exaggerate casualty numbers from attacks on
government and foreign targets.
A bomb had been planted in a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the
northern edge of the airport, Afghan deputy interior minister
General Ayoub Salangi posted on Twitter. There were no casualties,
The airport is home to one of the NATO-led force's most important
bases, the ISAF Joint Command, which is responsible for the
day-to-day management of foreign troop operations in Afghanistan.
Attacks on the heavily guarded airport are relatively rare and the
facility represents an ambitious target for insurgents.
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The attack comes amid heightened insecurity in Kabul following a
surprise announcement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month
that he would delay signing a crucial security pact designed to
shape the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after the NATO-led
combat mission ends next year.
The United States has said it would consider withdrawing all its
troops if the pact was not signed soon, although James Dobbins, the
senior U.S. diplomat for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said on Tuesday
the Obama administration was "nowhere near" deciding on a full
withdrawal after 2014.
(Additional reporting by Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, Hamid Shalizi and
Dylan Welch; writing by Dylan Welch; editing by Paul Tait)
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