Four US troops were killed when a suicide bomber drove an explosive-packed car into an American military convoy in the troubled southern Kandahar province on Monday.
Afghan and US officials insisted only five soldiers were injured in the latest in a string of assaults in the former Taliban stronghold, but independent sources claimed five American soldiers were killed in the bombing of the convoy on the Kandahar-Herat Highway.
Provincial police chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi said to Media the attack - involving a taxi car crashed into the coalition forces' convoy - took place near the mausoleum of Mir Wais Baba. He added it was a suicide bombing that left the attacker's body blown to pieces.
Salangi continued the injured were shifted to hospital before his arrival on the spot. "I have unconfirmed reports that five soldiers have been killed," he informed.
But coalition forces' spokeswoman in Kabul Cindy Moore said only four soldiers had been wounded in the attack. "They have been shifted to hospital for medical treatment and investigations are underway."
She explained the coalition forces were conducting a routine patrol when an improvised explosive device hit their convoy, wounding four US service members. According to the spokeswoman, the injured were evacuated to the Kandahar airfield.
In media, Colonel James Yonts of the US army described the soldiers as members of a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) assigned with civil-military aid work in the restive region.
"One of the four wounded is in a serious condition," he revealed, saying the victims were receiving medical attention at the Kandahar airfield." Yonts would not conjecture as to who might have mounted the daring assault.
However, Kandahar city police chief General Salem Ihsas, without elaborating his assertion, told Media charred body parts of the bomber suggested he was an Arab national.
A senior intelligence official in Kandahar divulged the explosive-packed car hit the convoy carrying officials of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), killing two people and wounding three others. He believed the attacker was an Arab.
Witnesses said three of the injured soldiers were carried on stretchers into a military helicopter while another two choppers were hovering over the area. Soon after the explosion, coalition military vehicles rushed to the site, they claimed.
No one has so far accepted responsibility for the deadly attack. But Taliban have stepped up violence in the south to disrupt the upcoming parliamentary polls scheduled for mid-September.
At least 13 US soldiers have been killed since March in attacks in southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, months after top American commanders claimed the Taliban-led insurgency was fast running out of steam.
Jun 13, 2005