Blast hits Kabul as NATO chief visits (AFGHANISTAN)

An Afghan man was killed on Thursday when an explosion hit a vehicle in Kabul, hours after NATO's secretary-general arrived to discuss an expansion of the alliance's peacekeeping mission to the violence-plagued south.


"A vehicle has been hit by a mine or bomb," said a spokesman for the NATO-led operation in Kabul.
However, a police official said he thought the blast in the west of the capital was caused by unexploded ordnance.
District police chief Zalmai Oryakhail told the agency a 16-year-old Afghan national had been killed and two other Afghans were hurt.
No further details were available.
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer arrived in Kabul late on Wednesday to meet Afghan government officials.
The alliance will undertake the biggest ground operation in its history when it assumes responsibility for security in the south from a US-led coalition in less than two weeks.
It already oversees operations in relatively secure areas in the north, west and in Kabul but Taliban guerrillas are active in the south.
Ahead of the handover, which is meant to allow the United States to cut the size of its force in Afghanistan, the coalition has launched a big offensive in the south against a resurgent Taliban and their allies.
More than 60 foreign soldiers, including at least six NATO-led troops, have been killed in the Taliban-led insurgency this year, the bloodiest period since US-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in 2001.

Von:, 20 July 2006

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