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Suicide attack on Kabul military airport: ISAF

An Afghan policeman (2nd L) and Belgian soldiers of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) keep watch at the site of a suicide bomb attack at the main gate of a NATO military airport in Kabul on September 8, 2009. A suicide bomber exploded a car outside Kabul's military airport September 8, killing two Afghan civilians and wounding 10 people including four foreign soldiers, officials said. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Kabul (AFP) Sept 8, 2009
A suicide bomber targeted Kabul's military airport Tuesday morning, an officer with the International Security Assistance Force said.

NATO's ISAF said it was not known whether anybody was killed or wounded but Afghanistan's Ministry of the Interior said there were civilian casualties from the blast, although it had no further details.

"It was a suicide attack outside the main gate of the military base at the airport," Colonel Koziel Bart told AFP.

"All the gates of the base have been closed and all air operations have been suspended," he said.

He said the attack took place outside the main gate of the base, just east of Kabul.

Jan Agha, a shopkeeper in the area, said: "I was sitting in my shop when I saw three SUV vehicle heading towards the ISAF airport.

"As they got close to the concrete blocks outside the gate a huge explosion took place. I think the explosion was in the third vehicle," he told AFP.

The Ministry of Interior said "there are civilian casualties" but had no details.

Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary confirmed it was a suicide attack, but said details were not yet clear.

The attack comes within weeks of a massive suicide car bomb attack on ISAF's Kabul headquarters, just ahead of elections on August 20 that were overshadowed by Taliban intimidation.

The August 15 attack, blamed on the Taliban, waging a fierce insurgency against the Western-backed Kabul government and the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan, killed seven Afghan civilians on the spot.

An AFP photographer at the gate of the Kabul military air base said the car that exploded was still burning .

Television footage showed the burning car sending a massive plume of black smoke into the air over the base as army vehicles, military and civilian ambulances and police cars rushed to the scene.

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Civilian casualties in Afghanistan 'a real problem': Gates
Washington (AFP) Sept 7, 2009
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged in an interview with Al Jazeera that civilian casualties have become "a real problem" for the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. Gates' remarks, in an interview to be aired Monday by the Qatar-based Arabic satellite news channel, came amid a raging controversy over an air strike that killed scores of people Friday in northern Afghanistan. ... read more

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