2012-02-27 / World

9 Afghans killed in blast near NATO base

KABUL, Afghanistan ( AP) — A suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into the gates of a NATO base and airport in eastern Afghanistan today, triggering a blast that killed nine Afghans, officials said. The Taliban claimed the attack was revenge for U. S. troops burning copies of the Quran.

The bombing in the city of Jalalabad follows six days of deadly protests in the country over the disposal of Qurans and other Islamic texts in a burn pit last week at a U.S. military base north of Kabul.

American officials have called the incident a mistake and issued a series of apologies. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged calm, calling on his countrymen not to let the insurgents capitalize on their indignation to spark violence.

Today’s attack appeared to be a sign that the Taliban are seizing the opportunity to do just that.

Shortly after daybreak, the bomber drove up to the gates of the airport, which primarily serves international military aircraft, and detonated his explosives in a “very strong” blast, said Nangarhar provincial police spokesman Hazrad Mohammad.

Among the dead were six civilians, two airport guards and one soldier, Mohammad said. Another six people were wounded, he said.

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