Asia

Afghan convoy attack: Nato soldier killed in suicide blast

Afghan security officials secure the roads leading to the Iraqi embassy after an attack allegedly carried out by the Islamic State, in Kabul (31 July 2017) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Security forces in Kabul have in recent weeks been forced to deal with a spate of militant attacks

A suicide bomber has attacked a military convoy in Kabul province, killing a Georgian soldier and wounding several others, officials say.

Five soldiers and an interpreter were injured, a Nato statement said.

Three civilians also died in the incident in Qarabagh district, Kabul police told the BBC.

The bomber was wearing female clothes, according to an Afghan official. The Taliban said it was behind the deadly blast on Thursday evening.

Qarabagh district is near Bagram Airbase, about 50km (30 miles) north of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

A Nato statement said a joint patrol between its forces and the Afghan army was attacked by a "personnel-borne improvised explosive device".

The statement added that all of those injured were in a stable condition and were being treated at the US military hospital at Bagram Airbase.

Georgia is not a Nato member - but as a partner of the organisation it has deployed 870 people to the Resolute Support Mission, which trains and supports Afghan security forces.

The bombing is the latest violence to have hit Afghanistan this month. On Tuesday more than 30 people were killed in a mosque blast in Herat.

On Monday a suicide bomber killed two people near the Iraqi embassy in Kabul.

Correspondents say the growing strength of the Taliban and the group known as so-called Islamic State (IS) in Qarabagh is a major source of concern to Nato forces based in nearby Bagram.

According to the United Nations, Afghanistan saw at least 1,662 civilian deaths in the first half of 2017, with about 20% of those in the capital.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A bombing in the centre of Kabul in May killed more than 150 people

At the end of July, a suicide car bomb killed at least 30 people as it struck a bus carrying government employees in a mainly Shia district of Kabul. The Taliban said they had carried out that attack.

On 31 May, a huge bombing in the centre of the city killed more than 150 people, the deadliest militant attack in the country since US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

The violence underlines the precarious security situation in Afghanistan as US President Donald Trump weighs up whether to increase the number of US troops aiding the military and police in the country.

Correspondents say the suicide bombings in Kabul in recent weeks have also created a crisis of public confidence in the government, its policies and in particular the reputation of President Ashraf Ghani.

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