Five Americans among 18 killed in Afghan suicide attack
White House spokesman says Taliban offer Afghanistan "only destruction"
American troops, one Canadian killed by car bomb
- Blast also
kills at least 12 civilians, wounds 48, officials say
- Five U.S.
military vehicles, civilian bus destroyed
Afghanistan’s capital killed at least a dozen civilians, five U.S.
troops and a Canadian service member on Tuesday, officials said — a
bloody strike claimed by the Taliban and deplored by the coalition.
blast, which occurred on a busy road near a NATO-led military convoy
and a registration center for the Afghan Army, rocked an area close to
government buildings fortified with security.
A U.S. defense
official confirmed the five U.S. troop deaths, and Canadian forces
confirmed the death of their soldier.
Local medical officials
said at least 12 civilians were killed and 48 were injured. The British
Foreign Office put the civilian death toll at 19.
A spokesman for
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force confirmed that five U.S.
military vehicles were destroyed along with 13 civilian vehicles. One
of the civilian vehicles was a bus filled with people, he said.
after the explosion, a nearby field was littered with charred body
parts, some thrown hundreds of meters from the blast site.
Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed the operation and said the
attacker was able to "destroy five foreign vehicles and damage one
Calling the attack a "deplorable act of violence," the
U.S. Embassy said the strike demonstrates the Taliban’s "callous
disregard for the well-being of the Afghan people."
Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton later said the attack was a reminder
of the "great sacrifice that our troops and their families are making.
… While our troops are fighting for a better future for the Afghan
people, the Taliban offers only destruction."
"The United States
and Afghan government remain steadfast in our determination to build
security, stability and opportunity for Afghanistan," he said.
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt also condemned the strike and
said the British and international commitment "to support the Afghan
government and people to work for a political solution through the peace
jirga at the end of this month will not be shaken."
The jirga is
an assembly of tribal elders. Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants the
elders to support a reintegration plan for Taliban members who renounce
violence and lay down their arms.
Josef Blotz, an ISAF spokesman, called Tuesday’s attack "desperate
brutality and aggression" and said it reflects "the pessimism of an
enemy who seek to kill the innocent and to stop the progress necessary
for a better Afghanistan."
Abawi contributed to this report.