Bomb Kills 2 US Soliders - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Bomb Kills 2 US Soliders

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The Taliban has claimed responsibility for a massive suicide car bombing that killed at least 18 people -- including two U.S. soldiers -- near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

"A coalition convoy was the target of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device this morning near the U.S. Embassy here," according to Master Sgt. Chris Miller. The convoy was comprised of three armored Humvees.

Journalist Tom Coghlan said the Humvee that bore the brunt of the explosion had its turret blown 30 yards from the site the the attack. The blast spread debris and body parts across the Massoud roundabout, about 50 yards from the embassy.

Video from the scene showed a charred, severed foot on the ground as military medics attended to a limp body dressed in military fatigues a short distance away.

Sixteen Afghans were killed and 29 wounded in the attack, Ali Shah Paktiawal, criminal director of Kabul police, told The Associated Press. The bomber also died.

Two American soldiers in the vehicle were killed and two wounded, U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Tamara Lawrence told AP.

The bombing was the second of the week in the Afghan capital directed at forces of the U.S.-led coalition. On Monday, four civilians and a British soldier were killed when a car bomb exploded near a military convoy in the Afghan capital.

The Taliban -- an Islamic militant group that once controlled Afghanistan and harbored the al Qaeda terror network -- have been making a resurgence in many parts of the country.

In southern Afghanistan, NATO have been fighting the resurgent Taliban for months, with both militants and troops sustaining many casualties.

There are about 19,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, and 6,000 are in the south. The major NATO deployments in the south are from Britain, Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.

In addition, the United States has another 20,000 troops under American command.

Gen. James Jones, NATO's supreme allied commander, said on Thursday that the troops have encountered "more resistance than we originally thought."

He said forces need more equipment, such as attack helicopters and large cargo planes, to battle the insurgency. He also wants NATO nations to send more troops.

Presently, in Kandahar province in the south, Canadian forces are leading a fight against Taliban militants in Operation Medusa, an offensive targeting the Taliban that began last Saturday.

Dozens of insurgents and five Canadian soldiers have been killed during the operation.

At least 35 British and Canadian troops have died in the past five weeks, and a town in the south has fallen under Taliban control.

"The tenacity of the resistance is a bit of a surprise," he said, adding that NATO knew that expanded operations -- such as the ongoing Operation Medusa -- "were going to stir up a hornet's nest."

"The fighting is extraordinarily intense. The intensity and ferocity of the fighting is far greater than in Iraq on a daily basis," Brig. Ed Butler, the commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, told ITV news on Friday. He echoed Jones' call for more troops.

In western Afghanistan, four Italian soldiers were wounded Friday in a roadside bomb blast while on patrol, the Italian Defense Ministry said.

The ministry said an improvised explosive device detonated around 9 a.m. near Farah while an Italian military vehicle was on patrol.

One of the soldiers is in a serious, but not life-threatening, condition.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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