Suicide Bomb Blast Kills 3 at Airport in Afghan Capital

Officials in Afghanistan say a suicide car bomber struck near a military base at the international airport in Kabul early Tuesday, killing three civilians and wounding six.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which also wounded an international soldier.

The airport is used by civilians as well as foreign troops operating in the country.  The bombing took place outside the gate on the military side.   

Taliban insurgents targeted the airport with rocket attacks last month, as they intensified their campaign of violence ahead of the country’s presidential election.

In another development, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will go before her country’s parliament Tuesday to explain her government’s strategy in Afghanistan.

Ms. Merkel is likely to face questions about a controversial NATO air strike ordered by a German commander.  The operation, which took place Friday in the northern province of Kunduz, targeted the Taliban, but local officials say it may have killed a large number of civilians.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung has defended the attack, which was aimed at militants who had seized two trucks carrying fuel.  Jung said the Taliban could have used the fuel tanks to launch a major attack on nearby German soldiers.

An Afghan human rights group (the Kabul-based Afghan Rights Monitor) said the air strike killed as many as 70 civilians.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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