A suicide teenage suicide bomber detonated explosives near the heavily barricaded NATO headquarters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday, killing six people, including child hawkers, as Afghanistan marked a public holiday, officials said.
The bomber, who was riding an explosives-laden motorcycle, blew himself up near the entrance of Camp Eggers, a NATO spokeswoman said, referring to a sprawling base that is home to 2,500 coalition trainers.
At least four civilians were killed and two more wounded, Kabul Police Chief Ayoub Salangi told Reuters.
The attack took place as government dignitaries assembled in Kabul to commemorate 11 years since the death of Ahmad Shah Massoud, an iconic anti-Taliban commander two days before Sept. 11.
The blast reverberated through Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, which is home to many Western embassies, shortly after First Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim finished an address to scores of dignitaries at an event mourning Massoud.
Afghan security forces sealed off the bomb site in front of NATO headquarters and close to the Italian embassy, an AFP reporter said.
“It was a suicide attack that killed six people and wounded five others,” interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.
A senior police official speaking off the record gave the same death toll.
“It was a suicide bombing carried out by a young boy. So far there are six dead and five wounded. Most of the victims are young children who gather around ISAF to sell small items to soldiers leaving or getting into the base,” he said.
General Ayub Salangi, the Kabul police chief, confirmed four deaths.
“A 16-year-old boy on foot, blew himself up killing four and wounding two, all civilians. There are some children among the dead and wounded,” he said.
A spokesman for NATO’s U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force confirmed only a blast and said that there had been no damage to ISAF headquarters or military casualties.
“We’re aware of a blast that occurred just outside ISAF headquarters in Kabul this morning,” U.S. Army Major Adam Wojack told AFP. “There are no ISAF casualties. The ISAF compound is secure,” he said.