Suicide Bomb Kills American in Afghanistan

One US diplomat and several US embassy officials were wounded, some of them seriously, when a suicide car bomber targeted their convoy in Afghanistan on Monday. It was the ninth suicide attack in Afghanistan during the past week.

US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann was not traveling in the convoy when it was attacked.

According to the Associated Press, one person died in the bombing. There are conflicting reports regarding the number of wounded, but several local Afghan civilians and children are understood to have been injured.

The US convoy was attacked in eastern Kabul on Jalalabad Road, a busy thoroughfare which leads east out of the capital. The road is frequently used by NATO and US-led coalition forces battling the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

Two US vehicles were badly damaged in the blast. One SUV was split in half and its front end blown to the opposite side of the road.

The amount of damage was reportedly reduced in this attack, when the full load of explosives failed to detonate.

Mullah Dadullah, a senior Taliban commander, claimed responsibility for the attack in an interview with Reuters by satellite phone from a secret location, in which he also claimed that several US soldiers had been killed. He also said the insurgents were planning more attacks.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has cordoned off the area, keeping curious locals and journalists at bay, while helicopters survey the scene from overhead.

After the bombing, the US embassy closed down and sent out a security alert to Americans living in Kabul.

On February 27, a suicide bomber blew up the entrance to the Bagram US military base 30 miles north of Kabul during a visit by US Vice-President Dick Cheney. The blast killed 23 troops and wounded a further 20. In September, a suicide bombing near the US embassy in Kabul killed 16 people, including two US soldiers.

Taliban commanders have long warned that 2,000 suicide bombers would soon launch a bloody spring offensive against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has seen a surge in Iraq-style guerilla warfare over the past year, especially over the past few weeks. These tactics, which include suicide attacks and roadside bombings, were brought to Afghanistan by al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda has re-joined forces with the Taliban insurgency and is believed to have re-established terrorist training camps in southern Afghanistan.

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