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Suspected Suicide Car Bomber Kills Five at Kabul Airport

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the militant group was behind Monday's attack. He said it was aimed at "foreigners."
Photo by Massoud Hossaini/AP

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A suspected suicide car bombing at a busy intersection near the entrance to Kabul's international airport today has killed at least five people and wounded another 16, said Afghan officials.

A huge plume of black smoke rose above the capital city of Afghanistan on Monday after the midday explosion, as police, soldiers, and ambulances rushed to the site, which is usually busy with pedestrians and vehicles.

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that the militant group was behind the attack. He said it was aimed at "foreigners."

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, said at least four bodies had been recovered. "Among the injured are one child and one woman," he stated.

Gen. Gul Agha Rohani, Kabul's deputy police chief, said he was told a suicide car bomber had struck the front gate of the airport and was on his way to the scene.

Related: Family of Dead Afghan Taliban Leader Disputes Legitimacy of New Chief

The charred remains of a car lay on its side near the roundabout. Nearby shops were destroyed and the windows of a wedding hall at the intersection were shattered, witnesses said. The entrance to the airport is often clogged with traffic, as vehicles must stop at a number of checkpoints.

Kabul has been rocked by a series of attacks in recent days that have killed scores of people and wounded hundreds.

The latest violence comes after the Afghan intelligence service said the Taliban's longtime leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for more than two years. The disclosure of his death, later confirmed by the Taliban, triggered an internal succession dispute and raised questions about the future direction of the insurgency.

The Taliban has stepped up attacks across the country since US and NATO forces shifted from a combat to a support and training role at the end of last year, drawing to a close the 13-year military campaign Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.