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A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a minivan near the airport in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul today, killing nine foreign civilians and three Afghans, police said in a statement.

General Mohammad Zahir, the head of Kabul police’s crime investigation department, confirmed in a phone interview that foreigners had been the target of the attack.The nationalities of those killed wasn’t yet confirmed, Zahir said. At least seven of the foreigners who died were working for an aviation company at the international airport, the Associated Press reported, citing Zahir.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said a bomber struck on the main highway leading to the airport and that there were no military casualties.

While no one claimed responsibility, Taliban militants have threatened to step up their attacks in Afghanistan after a movie that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad was posted to the Internet.

Violent protests over the American-made anti-Islamic film have roiled parts of Kabul over the last few days, mirroring demonstrations and attacks on U.S. and European-linked targets across the Muslim world. U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three colleagues were killed in an attack in Benghazi last week, while Muslim protesters in Tunis and elsewhere were killed in clashes with government security forces.

Security Transition

The protests may fuel anger in Afghanistan at a time when a security transition from exiting U.S.-led forces to Afghanistan’s army and police, is already being hindered by a surge in so-called insider attacks.

In the latest strike, four U.S. soldiers who went to help Afghans during a battle with militants at a remote checkpoint were killed on Sept. 16, apparently by Afghan police, according to the Associated Press, the third attack by Afghan forces or militants dressed in security uniforms in three days.

At least eight Afghan women were killed at the weekend by a NATO airstrike as they gathered firewood in the mountains of eastern Laghman province, NATO and government officials said, prompting a condemnation from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Business week

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