Suicide blast injuries 5 civilians in Afghan capital

By Zhang Yunlong, Xinhua,

Kabul : A suicide bomber Tuesday in a failed attempt to attack Afghan police or military personnel injured five civilians, two of them non-seriously, outside a historical garden in western part of Afghan capital Kabul, officials and witnesses said.

Support TwoCircles

“The attacker on foot attempting to attack a vehicle of military personnel at 6:20 a.m. (0150GMT) exploded himself pre-maturely just as police in the area who identified him were tryingto arrest or kill him,” an official at press office of Afghan defense ministry told Xinhua but refused to be named.

The explosion occurred at a sidewall of the Babur Garden, where a rush road lies just in front of the main gate and links eastward to the center of Kabul.

A Xinhua photographer reaching the spot soon quoting witnesses said the man failed to approach an apparent target, a moving police or military vehicle, and blew himself up as a mini civilian car passed by.

The Afghan Interior Ministry however in a statement said the bomber wanted to attack a police post in the area and exploded himself after being identified.

Three occupants of a car and two others, all civilians, were injured and only the bomber himself was killed, according to officials.

There has been no responsibility claim yet.

The past three years saw a sharp increase of suicide attacks by insurgents, with over 140 such ones recorded last year, in Afghanistan, where the Taliban-led militants had vowed to topple the western-backed government led by President Hamid Karzai.

Afghan civilians fell victims from the escalating violence commonly. According to UN figures, some 698 Afghan civilians died in the first half of year 2008, of which 422 were killed by anti-government elements and 255 were killed by Afghan government or international military forces.

On July 7, a suicide car blast, the deadliest one in years that hit Kabul, at gates of Indian embassy here left over 50 people dead and more than 100 others injured, mostly civilians.

Despite an ongoing anti-insurgent battle with current involvement of over 70,000 international troops, the war-battered country has still been in the grip of Taliban-led insurgency, six and half years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled the hard-line Taliban regime.

NATO officials admitted there was an increase of militant attacks during the past months of this year especially in June. Both May and June saw higher monthly U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

The United States Democratic presidential aspirant Barack Obamahas promised long-term support to Afghanistan during a Sunday meeting with President Karzai in Kabul.

Obama previously said U.S. focus should be shifted to Afghanistan, the central front of war on terrorism and proposed reinforcements of two U.S. brigades, totally around 7,000, to the central Asian country.

Insurgency and clashes last year claimed over 8,000 lives in Afghanistan, a record high.