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Suicide bomb kills 4 Afghans

A SUICIDE car bomb killed four Afghan civilians and wounded 13 more in an attack outside a US military base and the German embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, today, officials and witnesses said.

A sewage tanker and several cars were burning at the scene and there were bloodstains on the road as police loaded the bodies of three dead civilians onto the back of a pick-up truck and ferried wounded to nearby hospitals, a witness said.

Fourteen wounded civilians were taken to the nearby Emergency Hospital and one died on the way, hospital officials said.

Six US troops were also wounded by the blast, but none were killed, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan said.

A US military statement said previously that two US troops were killed and 12 wounded, but the spokesman said the statement was erroneous.

The bomber struck on a road lined with high concrete blast barriers that runs between the German embassy and Camp Eggers, the headquarters of a US unit that trains the Afghan army and police. The presidential palace and United Nations headquarters in Afghanistan lie immediately behind Camp Eggers.

A spokesman for the US force based at Camp Eggers said three soldiers had been evacuated to a military hospital at Bagram, the main US base north of Kabul.

There were no Germans hurt at the embassy, a spokeswoman said.

Relatives of the dead gathered outside the Emergency Hospital. A middle-aged woman was beating her head and screaming that her son had died. Another man was crying and said his son had also been killed.

Taliban militants, fighting to overthrow the Western-backed Afghan government and drive out foreign troops, have launched hundreds of suicide attacks in the last two years, but most of the victims are Afghan civilians.

While Taliban influence has spread from their traditional heartlands in the south and east to areas closer to the capital, there were fewer attacks inside Kabul last year than in 2007 with many more police checkpoints throughout the city.

US President-elect Barack Obama has pledged to make Afghanistan a foreign policy priority after he comes to office on Tuesday and is expected to approve the doubling of US troops in the country from the 30,000 at present.


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