A suicide car bomb hit vehicles carrying foreign troops near the US Embassy and an American military base in Afghanistan's capital on Thursday, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens, officials said.

The suicide bomber rammed his explosives-filled car into two vehicles of the NATO-backed international force, said Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, head of Kabul's criminal investigations unit.

The blast occurred shortly after noon and smoke could be seen rising from the site soon after. An Associated Press reporter saw two bodies on the ground, both burned and later

covered with plastic sheets.

At least six vehicles were burned, including at least one Humvee with an Italian flag painted on the side. Sirens rang through the area as emergency vehicles arrived.

In Rome, the Italian Defence Ministry said at least six people had died in the attack, but the number of Italians was unclear.

Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Gen Mohammad Zahir Azimi said at least 10 Afghan civilians were killed and 52 wounded. Sayedzada said foreign forces also were killed but he did not know how many.

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