Suicide bombing kills at least 6 in central Kabul
KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber blew himself up near NATO headquarters in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least six people, police said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the target was a U.S. intelligence facility nearby.
Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the U.S.-led international military alliance, said all coalition compounds in Kabul were currently secure. He said he was not aware of any casualties among members of the coalition.
The U.S. and Italian embassies as well as the Afghan presidential palace are also located near the site of the blast.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said six people, all civilians, were killed and five others were wounded.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement emailed to reporters that the bombing was carried out by a 28-year-old militant from Logar province, south of Kabul.
But Kabul deputy police chief Daud Amin said eyewitnesses reported seeing a teenage boy, who was about 13 or 14 years old, walking in the area carrying a bag.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi blamed the 11:40 a.m. attack on the Haqqani network, one of the most dangerous militant groups fighting U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. He did not say what he was basing that conclusion on, but the Haqqani group, which is linked to both the Taliban and al-Qaida, has been responsible for several high-profile attacks in the Afghan capital in the past.
On Friday, the U.S. designated the Pakistan-based Haqqani network a terrorist organization, a move that bans Americans from doing business with members of the group and blocks any assets it holds in the United States.
The Obama administration went forward with the decision despite misgivings about how the largely symbolic act could further stall planned Afghan peace talks or put yet another chill on the United States' already fragile counterterrorism alliance with Pakistan.
Saturday's suicide attack came as Afghans celebrated the 11th anniversary of the death of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an al-Qaida suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The alliance joined with the United States to help rout the Taliban after America invaded Afghanistan a month later in the wake of the attacks.