2 US troops, 1 Polish sergeant killed in bombing near US Embassy in Kabul
By SLOBODAN LEKIC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 16, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan — Two U.S. servicemembers and a Polish soldier were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber struck a convoy of vehicles near the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, officials said.
The International Security Assistance Force said three of its servicemembers died “as a result of an enemy attack” in Kabul, but did not disclose the nationalities. Five ISAF members were reported wounded.
In Washington a defense official said two of the three fatalities were Americans. The third was a Polish sergeant, the Poland’s Defense Ministry said.
Separately, another coalition soldier was killed on Monday in an apparent insider attack in western Afghanistan, an ISAF statement said. A Pentagon official said the victim was an American.
Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.
A Polish military spokesman identified the dead Polish servicemember as Sgt. Rafal Celebudzki. The spokesman told The Associated Press that Celebudzki was driving one of the vehicles that was struck in the bombing. He said two other Polish soldiers were among the wounded.
Hashmat Stanikzai, spokesman for the Kabul police, said that 13 civilians were wounded in the blast and that 17 civilian vehicles were damaged.
An Interior Ministry statement condemned the attack and said it was carried out by the “enemies of peace.”
The attack occurred on the busy airport road, which is frequently jammed with rush-hour traffic early in the morning. Roads around the scene of the attack were blocked by security personnel. Windows on nearby government ministries and other buildings were broken.
A Taliban spokesman said a guerrilla named Bilal had driven an explosives-laden Toyota Corolla into the convoy driving through the capital.
“Bilal waited for this attack for a couple of days, watching the same road to make sure it would be accurate,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a telephone interview. “He targeted the middle of the convoy in order to avoid civilian casualties.”
The attack came amid a prolonged political crisis stemming from accusations of irregularities in the presidential election. A U.N.-supervised audit of the 8 million ballots cast was completed last week, but the results have still not been announced because the two candidates, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, disagree on the count.
The impasse and the resulting delay in the transfer of power from current President Hamid Karzai has raised concerns about Afghanistan’s political stability at a time of increased insurgent activity ahead of the coming withdrawal of all foreign combat troops at the end of this year.
Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.