Car bomb kills 2 near U.S. base in Kabul


KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide car bomber struck near a U.S. military base yesterday, killing at least two people, and a U.S. soldier was reported killed in fighting with insurgents in southern Afghanistan.

A car accident apparently prevented the suicide bomber from reaching his intended target, believed to be a store frequented by foreigners on the outskirts of Kabul, said Yousuf Stanizai, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry.

The target also might have been U.S. or NATO forces that have bases on the same road, Stanizai said.

The bomber, who was driving a taxi with Kabul license plates, hit a truck and his vehicle exploded near the Supreme PX about 10 a.m. yesterday. The bomber and a man who was passing by were killed, Stanizai said. The blast set two shops on fire.

More than four years after U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban in late 2001, Afghanistan's insurgency is escalating.

The Afghan government is sharpening its criticism of neighboring Pakistan, charging that insurgent leaders are coordinating cross-border attacks from Pakistani territory.

"The leadership of the Taliban and other terror groups are living in Pakistan," Afghanistan's new foreign minister, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, told reporters yesterday.

Last week, as the latest surge in violence began with battles in southern Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai stepped up his normally reserved criticisms of Pakistan and accused it of direct involvement in the Afghan war.

Pakistan's military says it's absurd to suggest that it isn't doing enough to stop insurgents, because it has deployed 80,000 troops along the Afghan border and lost hundreds of soldiers and police in offensives to capture foreign and local militants.

In the continued fighting, the U.S. military reported yesterday that a service member had died Friday and six others had been wounded in a battle in southern Uruzgan province that left 20 insurgents dead.

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