Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomber struck a Western convoy on a busy road in the Afghan capital Tuesday, setting off a powerful blast that killed at least 18 people, including five American service members and a foreign soldier whose nationality was not immediately disclosed.
The explosion, which occurred at 8 a.m. when many people were on their way to work, carved a deep crater in the road near a ruined imperial palace on the city's western edge, overturning cars and scattering shrapnel over a wide area. The blast reverberated across much of Kabul.
The vehicles in the convoy were armored SUVs, which are often used to transport military officers and diplomats around the city. One was flipped by the force of the explosion and the one behind it was reduced to a scorched, shattered hulk. U.S. troops quickly secured the site, evacuated the wounded and inspected the wreckage.
NATO and the U.S. Embassy condemned the attack, which -- like many bombings targeting convoys or military installations -- killed mainly noncombatants. Afghanistan's Interior Ministry described 12 of the dead as "innocent civilians" and said nearly 50 other people, mainly passers-by, were hurt.