Six Americans were among the sixteen who died in an early morning car bomb explosion in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Thursday during rush hour. The attack occurred in the crowded eastern district of the capital known as Shah Shahid.
It was the deadliest such incident in more than two months. The Americans included two NATO service members and four NATO civilian contractors who worked for the international security company DynCorp International.
They made up a NATO convoy of two cars that was rammed by a suicide car bomber driving a Toyota Corolla in Kabul. Nine Afghan civilians were also killed. Two schoolchildren numbered among the six Afghanis who died. Another thirty-nine civilians were injured. The bomber also died in the blast. The explosion shook and rattled buildings miles away on the other side of the city. Body parts were strewn on the street.
Afghan police officials at the scene removed the bodies of four Americans from the smoking, devastated armored vehicles. The corpses of the Afghan victims were burned beyond immediate attempts to identify them. The NATO vehicles were damaged to such an extent that no one could have survived who was trapped inside of them.
Hezb-e-Islami, a small rival group of the Taliban who are seeking greater recognition, has claimed responsibility for carrying out the bombing. The group deliberately targeted the NATO convoy, knowing that the vehicles contained “American advisers” working in the city, according to the former Mujahideen warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatya. They had shadowed the movements of the Americans for the week preceding the bombing to learn their routines and usual transport routes.
Haroon Zarghon, a spokesman for the militant terrorist group, said the person who carried out the bombing was a 24-year-old man who had grown up south of Kabul.
Hezb-i-Islami recently formed a new “martyrdom unit” aimed at foreign forces In Kabul. Though they have not carried out many such bombings in the past, the creation of this new unit is a sign that they are dedicated enough to die for their cause. The unit was formed because of rumored U.S. plans to keep and maintain permanent bases and troops in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline for all American troops to pull out of the war-torn country.
May has been the deadliest month for international forces yet this year. The Taliban and other terrorist groups seem to be emboldened because they know that the U.S. troops are leaving more and more of the fighting to the Afghan forces and are falling more into a training mission for them, to prepare the government forces to take over the security for their own country.
The suicide bombing was condemned by Afghan’s President Hamid Karzai, who said that those behind it are “terrorists and enemies of Afghistan’s peace.”
Written by: Douglas R. Cobb