Car bomb targeting NATO aid team kills 4 Afghans

January 26, 2012 - 5:05 AM
APTOPIX Afghanistan

An Afghan woman clad in burqa waits for alms in a cold morning in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide car bomber targeting a NATO-sponsored reconstruction team killed at least four people and wounded 31 on Thursday in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

The dead were all Afghan civilians and included a child, said Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The bomber detonated the explosives-laden vehicle Thursday morning as a convoy of a NATO Provincial Reconstruction Team passed by in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, he said.

Ahmadi said there were foreigners inside the vehicles but could not confirm if any were among the 31 wounded.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams are joint international military-civilian units dedicated to aid projects to boost support for the Afghan government. They are sponsored by the NATO military coalition and there are 27 now operating in Afghanistan.

A statement from the Ministry of Interior said the attack took place near an Education Department building, though Ahmadi initially described it as an aid office. The Ministry said the vehicles in the convoy were about 70 percent destroyed.

Helmand has been one of the most volatile areas in the Taliban insurgency's pushback against a U.S.-led initiative to bring southern Afghanistan under greater control of the central Afghan government.

Elsewhere, a rocket fired by Taliban insurgents killed a woman and her child in eastern Afghanistan.

Insurgents fired the mortar round during a battle Wednesday with Afghan army soldiers trying to clear militants from a stronghold in Kapisa province's Alasay district, said the provincial governor's chief of staff, Abdul Sabor Wafa.

President Hamid Karzai and NATO's commander for Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, condemned the insurgents on Thursday for the civilian deaths.