Suicide bomber kills nine in Kabul bike attack

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The Independent Online

The blast came outside the main army training centre, and most of the nine dead and 28 wounded were believed to be Afghan soldiers. Indications were that the bombing was modelled on similar attacks in Iraq, where insurgents have repeatedly targeted recruiting centres for Iraqi soldiers and police working alongside US forces.

Yesterday's bomber rode up to the entrance of the training centre and rammed the convoy of minibuses.

"I saw the bodies of badly mutilated soldiers and the buses were on fire," said Khail Mohammed, a soldier who witnessed the attack.

It happened on the Jalalabad road, the main route east out of Kabul that has a major UN compound and several military bases. It has become notorious for hidden explosives.

Afghan security sources saidthat the bomber may have been an Arab, adding that an al-Qa'ida suicide squad was in Afghanistan.

But in an apparent effort to counter those claims, a spokesman for the Taliban, Abdul Latif Hakimi, named the bomber as Sardar Mohammed, who was said to be from Kabul. He said: "More mujahedin suiciders are ready to follow his way and you will witness them doing it in the future."This has been the bloodiest year for the country since the 2001 war. With the Taliban resurgent, an insurgency is growing steadily across the south and east. But Kabul, along with the peaceful north and west, has been largely immune from the violence until now.

Afghan police, meanwhile, arrested a man in Kabul on Tuesday accused of being behind the kidnapping of Clementina Cantoni, an Italian aid worker, earlier this year.Timur Shah's motive was believed to be financial.