Three German soldiers die in Kabul blast

  • AseanPlus News
  • Sunday, 08 Jun 2003

KABUL: A suspected suicide bomber in a car blew up a bus carrying German peacekeepers in this capital yesterday, killing at least three soldiers and injuring 30 people, including some passers-by, officials said. 

Witnesses at the scene of the blast, the first deadly attack on the 5,000-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said they saw the mangled wreckage of the car carrying the explosives and bloodstains and shards of glass on the road. 

“It was a deliberate attack from a passing car,” said ISAF spokesman Lt-Col Paul Kolken. “We can confirm three dead and several wounded,” he said.  

ISAF troops were at the scene shortly after the explosion at around 8am local time and cordoned off the area. 

ISAF medical staff worked frantically to extract victims from the bus and a helicopter landed nearby to transfer the wounded to an ISAF-run hospital. 

A German Defence Ministry spokesman in Berlin said that as well as the three soldiers on board who died, around 30 people were wounded, including 10 who suffered serious injuries. Some of the wounded were pedestrians. 

The incident was the latest in a string of attacks in Afghanistan aimed at US-led coalition forces, international peacekeepers and aid agencies. 

One Afghan police official said it was too early to say who was behind the attack. 

But in previous cases in recent months they have blamed remnants of the ousted Taliban regime and the al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, suspected of masterminding the Sept 11, 2001, attacks.  

Yesterday's explosion was the second violent incident involving German peacekeepers here in the past two weeks. 

On May 29, one German soldier was killed and another wounded when their vehicle hit a landmine near here, although officials blamed an old landmine rather than a deliberate act of sabotage. 

ISAF has around 5,000 troops stationed here, with the force currently led by Germany and the Netherlands. 

At least 14 German peacekeepers have now died in Afghanistan, mostly in non-hostile acts. 

ISAF has been based here since President Hamid Karzai's government took over in late 2001 after US-led coalition forces toppled the Taliban. 

Karzai, who returned to Afghanistan from a trip to Britain just hours after the attack, told an audience in Oxford on Friday that were ISAF to leave the country, it would be “in hell,” underlining the lack of security. – Reuters  

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