KABUL, Afghanistan – A man wearing a suicide vest blew himself up near a U.S. base in the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing at least one person in what looked like a thwarted attempt to attack the American base, police said.
The blast reverberated around the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood shortly after 8 a.m. local time. An alarm started going off at the nearby U.S. Embassy, warning staff to take cover. The neighborhood also is home to many high-ranking Afghan officials, international organizations and the headquarters of the international military coalition.
The attacker was on foot and was identified by security forces as he approached Camp Eggers, said Gen. Mohammad Zahir, the chief of the Kabul police criminal investigation department. He said that there was at least one other body on the scene besides that of the attacker. He expected that any dead were the Afghan guards that sit at the outer perimeter of the base, but he could not confirm this.
Two Afghan soldiers who were in a nearby vehicle when the blast occurred were wounded, said Kabul Police Chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi. An international coalition vehicle was damaged in the attack but there were no initial reports of casualties among the foreign forces, said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the allied forces.
The explosion comes just a few days ahead of the Muslim holy day of Ashoura, during which Shiite Muslims commemorate the seventh century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.
Afghanistan saw its first major sectarian attack since the fall of the Taliban regime during last year's Ashoura celebrations when a suicide attacker hit a Shiite shrine, killing 56 people and wounding more than 160 others.