Source AP ©

Suicide bomber kills one and wounds four soldiers near Kabul airport

A suicide bomber in a car targeting a patrol of German soldiers blew himself up outside the gates of the Afghan capital's airport Friday. One Afghan soldier killed and four Belgian troops was wounded, officials and witnesses said.

The blast, aimed at a patrol of German forces, missed its intended target and tore into a group of Afghan soldiers waiting at a checkpoint outside the military wing of Kabul International airport, witnesses said.

The German Defense Ministry said that the blast damaged two of their vehicles, but that no German troops were hurt.

Belgian Defense Minister Andre Flahaut said four Belgian soldiers were slightly wounded in the attack, with one suffering minor burns. Others suffered hearing damage.

Some 300 Belgian soldiers, serving with NATO's International Security Assistance Force, are in charge of security at Kabul's airport.

"A car drove fast and blew up next to a crowd of people, including Afghan National Army soldiers," said Mansur, a witness who only gave a single name. "A lot of people were left laying on the ground."

Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, a Defense Ministry spokesman, said at least one Afghan solider was killed and two others were wounded in the attack - the latest in a wave of insurgent-led violence in the country.

Other officials at the scene said one soldier was killed and at least six others, including two civilians, were wounded.

Ambulances ferried the wounded to a hospital, while NATO and Afghan troops secured the area. Debris from the car was widely scattered.

An Afghan noncommissioned officer said the bomber tried to ram a convoy of cars carrying foreigners. Instead, most of those hit were members of Afghan National Army, on their way for training in Italy, he said.

"All the shrapnel came toward us," said the soldier, who also declined to give his name.

Another soldier walked away from the scene holding a pair of bloodied boots and two green berets worn by Afghan National Army members.

Taliban militants are leading an increasingly bloody campaign against Afghan and Western troops in the country. Almost 4,000 people - most of them insurgents - have been killed this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.

Most of the violence has been in the south and the east where the Taliban are historically strongest, but there has also been a series of suicide attacks against foreign and Afghan security forces in the capital, Kabul.