Car Bomb Targets German Military in Afghanistan

A car bomb attack Saturday on a heavily guarded road between the German Embassy and a U.S. military base in the Afghan capital killed two Afghan civilians and wounded five U.S. troops, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility and said the bomber targeted German military personnel.

The U.S. military released a statement shortly after the 9:45 a.m. attack saying two U.S. troops were killed and 12 wounded. But Col. Greg Julian, the top U.S. spokesman in Afghanistan, later said the statement was based on bad information and that five American forces had been wounded in the attack and none killed.

Firefighters and soldiers doused burning vehicles in the street near the base with water. Afghan security personnel and U.S. soldiers carried a U.S. service member out of a window near the blast. It was not clear whether soldier was dead or alive.

Two Afghan civilians died in the blast and 23 were wounded, said Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Defense Ministry spokesman.

The German Embassy shares a small, two-lane road with Camp Eggers, a U.S. base that serves as the headquarters for soldiers training Afghan police and army personnel. Dozens of armed Afghan security personnel guard the street, and blast walls of concrete and sand-filled mesh-wire boxes line the road.

"It did not breach the wall (of the base)," said Lt. Col. Chris Kubik, a U.S. military spokesman. "It was fairly close but I can't tell you if they were targeting us or not."

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said "some personnel" were wounded in the blast, but he did not give numbers. He said they had no reports of deaths.

Windows inside the German compound shattered in the explosion, but the wall protecting the compound is still intact, he said. The spokesman refused to give his name for publication, citing government policy.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said a Taliban homicide bomber named Shumse Rehman carried out the attack in a Toyota Corolla. He said the bomber targeted two vehicles believed to be carrying German military officers.

"The Germans have forces in the north of Afghanistan and they are involved in the killing of innocent Afghans. The Taliban will target all those countries who have forces in Afghanistan," he said.

Mujahid said the Taliban had been monitoring the movements of German vehicles and planned the attack to target officers believed to be inside.

Germany has 3,200 troops in Afghanistan, mainly in the country's north. That region is considerably more peaceful than the country's east or south, but German troops still suffer from occasional bomb attacks.

The U.S. has some 32,000 troops in Afghanistan and plans to send up to 30,000 more this year.