Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — A massive car bomb blew up Friday on the outskirts of a city in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least eight people and injuring dozens -- an attack that authorities said could have been far worse if the suicide bomber had been able to make his way into the more crowded city center.
The thunderous explosion rocked the edge of Khost city, the capital of the eastern province of the same name, which is the site of a large American-run military base known as Camp Salerno. Khost was also the site, 14 months ago, of a suicide bombing at a smaller U.S. installation that killed seven CIA workers, the agency's worst single-day loss in nearly three decades.
Khost's provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Hakim Isahaqzai, said authorities had been tipped off about a planned bombing, and hunted fruitlessly all night for the would-be attacker. At about 9 a.m., officials said, a suspicious-looking SUV-type vehicle blew past a police checkpoint about half a mile from the city center. When police fired what were described as warning shots, the driver detonated his explosives.
"He was trying to get to the center," Isahaqzai said. "This prevented a much more tragic incident."