Bicycle bomb wounds seven in Afghanistan

A bicycle bomb aimed at a vehicle carrying Nato-led peacekeepers exploded on Monday east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, wounding at least seven Afghan civilians, some seriously, police and officials said.

The remote-controlled bomb was set on a bicycle left on the side of the main road from Kabul to the eastern city of Jalalabad and detonated at about 9.30am (5am GMT), said district police chief Mohammed Akbar.

“Seven people were injured, some of them seriously: four were in a taxi passing by, three were pedestrians,” Akbar said.

Interior ministry spokesperson Lutfullah Mashal said the blast targeted a vehicle belonging to the 8 000-strong International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), which is based in Kabul.

“There was an explosion in the Hod Qhail neigbourhood, east of Kabul. It was aimed at an Isaf vehicle, but missed it and struck a taxi and pedestrians passing by”.

Isaf spokesperson Lieutenant Karen Tissot van Patot said no peacekeepers were injured in the blast. She said it happened nine kilometres east of the capital but gave no other details.

The explosion came about eight hours after a rocket shook the Isaf headquarters in central Kabul, although no one was injured in that incident.

No-one has claimed responsibility for either of the attacks on Monday.

Afghanistan’s ousted Islamic hardline Taliban militia has stepped up violence elsewhere in the country during the past month and security has also deteriorated in Kabul.

An Italian aid worker who was dragged from her car in the capital by armed gunmen two weeks ago appeared on a video aired by an Afghan television network on Sunday.

Clementina Cantoni (32) was shown wrapped in a blanket and with two armed men with their faces covered pointing guns at her head.

Earlier this month three people, including an engineer from Myanmar who was working for the United Nations, were killed in a bombing at an internet cafe in Kabul.

A car bomb exploded in April in Kabul without causing any casualties, while in late March a bomb blast which went off near the Isaf camp hit a Canadian diplomatic car, injuring four people.
The incidents have prompted the estimated 3 000 foreign nationals in Kabul to observe a strict curfew and avoid all unnecessary movement around the city.

Resentment against foreigners has also spiralled with Afghanistan earlier this month experiencing the worst anti-United States protests since the fall of the Taliban.

At least 15 people were killed in a wave of demonstrations against a Newsweek report, which the magazine later retracted, that the US military in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba had desecrated copies of the Koran.

The Taliban is still fighting to rid the country of the US-led troops who helped oust them three and a half years ago in the wake of the September 11 attacks. - Sapa-AFP

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