A uniformed man on a motorbike detonated a bomb outside an Afghan army training center, killing nine people and wounding 28 in a rare suicide attack in the Afghan capital.
The blast Wednesday in Kabul broke 10 days of relative calm after landmark parliamentary elections and underscored the terrorist threat still facing Afghanistan as it moves slowly toward democracy. It also added to fears that insurgents here could be copying tactics used in Iraq.
A purported Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility and threatened more suicide attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces. His account of the attack differed with those of witnesses and his claims could not immediately be verified.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zaher Azimi said authorities had yet to identify the bomber, but blamed "international terrorists." He did not elaborate.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack in "the strongest terms" as he ordered authorities to investigate.
The U.S.-trained Afghan National Army, which currently numbers about 30,000, is a key plank of international efforts to rebuild the country.
Gen. Ghulam Saki, commander of the Kabul Military Training Center, said nine army personnel died, along with the attacker. Three civilian bus workers were among 28 people treated in a military hospital.
This year has seen an upsurge in violence in Afghanistan, but mostly in the volatile south and east where Taliban-led insurgents are strongest. More than 1,300 people, many of them rebels, have died in the past seven months, reports the AP.
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned his new US counterpart Joe Biden not to push Europe into an alliance against Beijing