ISIL-claimed blast targets NATO convoy

ISIL-claimed blast targets NATO convoy

ISIL-claimed blast targets NATO convoy A powerful blast targeting an armored NATO convoy in Kabul killed at least eight people and wounded 28 yesterday, including three coalition members, officials said in an attack claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The explosion, which came during morning rush hour on a busy road near the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters, killed “mostly” civilians, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP without giving a breakdown. NATO said three coalition service members had received “non-life threatening wounds” in the attack.

“[They] are in stable condition, and are currently being treated at coalition medical facilities,” a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said, without confirming their nationalities. ISIL claimed responsibility for the blast via its Amaq propaganda agency, saying the eight dead were all American soldiers. The militants are known to exaggerate their claims. The attack comes three weeks after the U.S. dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on the jihadist group’s hideous in eastern Afghanistan.

NATO commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said the strike, which triggered global shockwaves, showed there was “no space” for ISIL in the war-torn country.      

May 1’s attack comes as the U.S. seeks to craft a new strategy in Afghanistan and NATO mulls boosting troop levels as they face a “stalemate” against the resurgent Taliban. The blast, which ISIL said was a suicide car bomb and NATO said was an improvised explosive device (IED), damaged two of the heavily armored vehicles in the convoy and left a small crater in the road, witnesses and an AFP photographer said. MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles, which are designed to withstand large explosions, are routinely used by international forces moving around Kabul.

At least three civilian cars were also damaged, with one ablaze, while windows were shattered up to several hundred meters away. Firefighters and ambulances rushed stunned survivors to hospital.