Two American soldiers among 15 killed in Kabul suicide bomb attack on Afghan Nato convoy

Muslim militant group Hizb-e-Islami have claimed responsibility for the early morning attack

US officials have confirmed that two American soldiers were among 15 people killed in a suicide bomb attack on a Nato convoy in the Afghan capital of Kabul today.

An Islamic militant group, Hizb-e-Islami, has already claimed responsibility for the attack, which also killed four contractors and nine Afghan civilians, saying it had formed a special "martyrdom unit" to attack foreign troops.

At least two children are thought to be among the dead.

Body parts could be seen littering the scene of the blast, which was reportedly large enough to rattle buildings on the other side of the city. One coalition vehicle was reduced to a mangled pile of metal.

Kabul provincial police spokesman Hashmad Stanakzi said the suicide bomber attacked at about 8 am with a car packed with explosives. "The explosion was very big. It set the nearby buildings on fire," he said.

The car reportedly hit the convoy as it passed the home of an Afghan politician. Two children are said to be among the dead.

The deputy chief of police, Daud Amin, said it was difficult to immediately estimate the number of dead because of the state of some of the victims.

"We saw two dead bodies of children on the ground," he said. "But the rest of the bodies were scattered in pieces around."

Two Kabul hospitals had earlier reported that at least six dead and 37 wounded were brought in from the scene, but that the toll could increase.

A spokesman for Hizb-e-Islami, Haroon Zarghoon, told The Associated Press news agency that one of the movement's operatives carried out the attack on what he described as two vehicles of American advisers.

He claimed that most of the American advisers were killed and their vehicles destroyed.

Zarghoon says the militant group has formed a new cell to carry out suicide attacks on US and other coalition troops.

"The cell had been monitoring the movement and timing of the American convoy for a week and implemented the plan Thursday morning," Zarghoon said.

He claimed the cell was established in response to alleged American efforts to keep permanent bases and troops in Afghanistan even after the full Nato withdrawal.

The announcement could signal an escalation of actions from the northeastern-based group, which is a fierce rival of the Taliban.

The US has repeatedly said it wants no permanent bases in Afghanistan after most foreign troops withdraw by the end of 2014, but President Hamid Karzai raised eyebrows last week when he announced he had agreed to an American request to keep nine bases. A smaller American force is expected to remain in the country to assist Afghans in keeping security, but the exact configuration of their work has not yet been decided.

Hizb-e-Islami is headed by 65-year-old former warlord Gubuddin Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister and one-time US ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington. The militia has thousands of fighters and followers across the country's north and east.

Hekmatyar, who was heavily financed by the US during the 1980s occupation of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, has been declared a terrorist and is being hunted by Afghan and Nato troops. US bombs have targeted his military chief Kashmir Khan in Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan on the border with Pakistan.

However, Hekmatyar's son-in-law has also held peace talks with both Karzai and also American officials. In a further sign of the complexities of the Afghan insurgency, Hizb-e-Islami is also a rival to the Taliban insurgency, even though both movements share the goal of driving out foreign troops and establishing a state that would follow a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Hekmatyar and the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Omar, in particular, are said to share personal animosity.

Thursday's attack was the second in eight months claimed by Hizb-e-Islami. In September, the militant group claimed responsibility when a female suicide car bomber killed least 12 people. At the time, Hizb-e-Islami said the attack was revenge for the film "Innocence of Muslims," which was made by an Egyptian-born American citizen and infuriated Muslims abroad for its negative depiction of the Prophet Mohamad.

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Key stage 3 and 4 Teacher requi...

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...

NQT Secondary Teachers

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence