Kabul Airport rocked by a huge blast

Huge blast rocks Kabul airport

Car bomb is detonated close to key Nato command centre at a crucial time for Afghanistan, as President Karzai mulls security deal with US

By Rob Crilly, Afghanistan correspondent5:36AM GMT 11 Dec 2013CommentsComments

Militants destroyed the military entrance to Kabul’s international airport on Wednesday morning, as a huge explosion rocked an area used by local and international troops.

Some reports suggested a suicide attacker targeted a military convoy other officials said the blast was the result of an abandoned car.
The city was already on a heightened level of security after intelligence forces claimed to have foiled a string of attacks in recent days.

Initial reports suggested there were no civilian casualties.

A spokesman for Nato’s Isaf Joint Command (IJC), which is based at the heavily defended airport, also said none of its troops were thought to be involved.

A spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry confirmed details of the blast.

“It was a car bomb which exploded. No-one was inside it. It had been left in the road, perhaps for a target to pass,” he said.

Col Chris Garver, chief of public affairs for the IJC in Kabul, said: “Initial reporting indicates no IJC casualties at this time.”

The attack comes at a crucial time for Afghanistan.

President Hamid Karzai is under intense pressure to sign a security agreement with Washington before the end of the year, governing the terms under which American troops can remain in the country after Nato completes its drawdown next year.

Time is running out for a political deal with the Taliban, which views spectacular attacks inside the capital as one of its most effective tools.

Elections due in April are seen as a make or break moment.

A day earlier the country’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, said it had rounded up the masterminds behind attacks planned on the Presidential Palace, ministry of Defence and the airport.

Officials said they had collected five suicide vests, explosives, heavy weapons and had prevented nine attacks in recent days.

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