Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bomb Hits Canadian Convoy in Afghanistan

Yahoo! News
Bomb Hits Canadian Convoy in Afghanistan

A suicide car bomb hit a Canadian military convoy in a southern Afghan city Sunday, killing two civilians and wounding 13 people, officials said.

The blast occurred as the convoy was driving near the Canadian base in Kandahar city, a former Taliban stronghold, said Interior Ministry spokesman Dad Mohammed Rasa.

He said at least two civilians were killed and 10 were wounded. He said an unspecified number of Canadian troops were also hurt.

U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara said three soldiers were wounded in a bomb attack on a U.S.-led coalition convoy, but declined to identify their nationalities.

Calls to a spokesman for the Canadian force in Kandahar went unanswered. Canada has about 650 troops in Afghanistan, nearly all in Kandahar.

Shopkeeper Rahim Gul said he saw a sedan vehicle blow up as it was passing the convoy.

"The explosion was so big. It destroyed one jeep and blew it totally to the other side of the road," he said, adding that he saw at least three wounded soldiers.

The blast is the latest in a string of suicide attacks that represent a new and disturbing security threat in Afghanistan.

Violence across southern and eastern Afghanistan spiked last year, leaving about 1,600 people dead, the most since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in 2001 for hosting Osama bin Laden.

The fighting normally eases during the winter months, when snow blankets the region, but the past few weeks have seen a string of suicide attacks and other assaults.