A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into an armored NATO bus today on a busy thoroughfare in Kabul, killing 17 people, including 12 Americans. It was the deadliest strike against the US-led coalition in the Afghan capital since the war began. US soldiers wept as they pulled bodies from the debris, one witness said. The blast occurred on the same day that a man wearing an Afghan army uniform killed three coalition troops, who were reportedly Australian, in the south.
The attacks that show the resiliency of the insurgency and are likely to raise new doubts about the unpopular 10-year-old war and the Western strategy of trying to talk peace with the Taliban. A spokesman for the Taliban, which was ousted in the 2001 invasion for its affiliation with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban and related groups have staged more than a dozen major attacks in Kabul this year, including seven since June, in an apparent campaign to weaken confidence in the Afghan government.