Taliban say suicide bomber targeted U.S. company in Kabul

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:43am EST
 

By Hamid Shalizi

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Taliban movement claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Kabul on Monday which targeted a U.S. contracting company and killed two Afghan civilians, underscoring security challenges ahead of a NATO pullout.

Hours earlier, a blast in eastern Afghanistan killed 10 Afghan girls, between nine and 11 years old, as they collected firewood.

The Taliban and its allies have staged high-profile attacks in Kabul over the past few years against Western targets, including embassies. Attacks on Western companies are rare.

"A suicide car bomber attacked an important American company which is involved in security," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

"The company was under our surveillance for a long time and today we succeeded."

After more than a decade of war against Western forces with superior firepower and technology, the Taliban remain a potent force capable of striking in the heart of Kabul.

Many Afghans fear the Taliban, who were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001, will push to seize power again after most NATO combat troops leave by the end of 2014. They also worry another civil war could erupt.

The Afghan government says the Taliban have no chance of taking over and that police and troops can take control once Western forces pull out.   Continued...

 
Afghan policemen stand at the site of a blast in Kabul December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail