Afghan Official: Bomb Targets Convoy

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- An explosion targeted a NATO military convoy in the Afghan capital on Sunday, wounding three civilians, the city's police chief said.

Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi said there were no fatalities from the blast, which targeted two armored vehicles attached to the NATO Resolute Support Mission, damaging one of them.

While Rahimi and a Taliban spokesman said the convoy was attacked by a suicide car bomber, U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, the spokesman in Afghanistan for U.S. and NATO forces, said it was a roadside bomb. The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the three civilians suffered minor wounds. It said the blast damaged surrounding buildings.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid sent a statement to local media claiming responsibility.

There have been a number of attacks in the capital in recent weeks, including one on Oct. 6 targeting the house of former Helmand governor Nahim Baloch. After an all-night battle, 10 people were wounded, including three civilians and seven members of the Afghan security forces. Officials said Baloch was not at home at the time.

The Taliban have been active across the country this year, most recently storming the northern city of Kunduz and holding it for three days before largely retreating in the face of a government counter-offensive.

Elsewhere in Kabul, a military helicopter appeared to strike a monitoring balloon as it landed at a NATO military base, according to Najibullah, a security guard who witnessed the incident. Like many in Afghanistan, he goes by one name.

The helicopter "hit the cable of the security balloon over the base, It seemed like the cable was turned around the helicopter rotor," he said. He said the helicopter went down and then black smoke rose from the area.

A second helicopter circled around the area three or four times and then landed at a nearby airport, he said.

Tribus, the military spokesman, said an "incident" involving a NATO aircraft and an observational balloon had taken place "in the vicinity of the Resolute Support base" in central Kabul. The monitoring balloon was severed from its mooring in the incident, he said, without providing further details.

(KA)