The Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Friday that wounded six people near the Afghan capital, while Britain’s prime minister suggested 5,000 more NATO troops could be deployed to the troubled country.
NATO said the suicide bombing occurred at 8 a.m. (0330 GMT) on the Jalalabad road, which is used extensively by international forces and frequently attacked. In August, another Taliban suicide bomber targeted a NATO convoy there killing at least eight people.
NATO said reports on Friday’s attack indicated Afghan civilians, NATO service members and civilian contractors had been wounded. No NATO members were killed.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid sent The Associated Press a message saying the bombing was carried out by a Taliban suicide car bomber targeting an international military convoy.
Abdul Ghafar Sayed Zada, chief of criminal investigation for Kabul police, said three civilians and three foreigners were wounded.
At the scene, Nabi, a taxi driver, said he was driving down the road when he heard a “big bang.”
“Everything went dark,” said Nabi, who like many Afghans uses one name. “I just managed to take myself out of the area. I don’t know what happened then, but the attack was on the foreigners.”
Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a spokesman for NATO, said the bombing was “another attack by insurgents that injured the people of Afghanistan and our personnel who are partnering with the Afghan security forces to bring better development, governance and security to Afghanistan.”
“This attack will not deter us from continuing our important mission,” he said.
NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has asked for an extra 40,000 troops to be sent to Afghanistan to bolster the 71,000 already here.
But President Barack Obama has not yet made a decision on sending more troops — a delay that has found an echo in Europe, where coalition leaders in NATO are weighing whether to send help or bow to public demands for a speedy exit.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that allied nations have privately pledged more help, but he stopped short of saying that countries would send more troops.
On Friday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he could secure commitments for 5,000 more NATO forces in Afghanistan.