KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy in the Afghan capital on Thursday, and the explosion killed at least two children and wounded several people, according to officials.
A Muslim militant group, Hizb-e-Islami, claimed responsibility for the early morning attack.
The powerful explosion rattled buildings on the other side of Kabul and sent a pillar of white smoke into the sky in the city's east.
NATO spokesman Lt. j.g. Quenton Roehricht said the international alliance can "confirm an explosion occurred on a coalition convoy in Kabul this morning," but provided no further details.
Kabul provincial police spokesman Hashmad Stanakzi said the suicide bomber attacked the convoy with a car packed with explosives. "The explosion was very big. It set the nearby buildings on fire," Stanakzi said.
He said there were people killed and several were wounded but he could not immediately give exact numbers. "The casualty numbers are high and mostly civilian."
Kabul Deputy Police Chief Daud Amin said it was difficult to immediately estimate the number of casualties.
"We saw two dead bodies of children on the ground and one woman wounded," Amin said. "But the rest of the bodies were scattered in pieces around."
A spokesman for Hizb-e-Islami, Haroon Zarghoon, told The Associated Press that one of the movement's operatives carried out the attack on what he called two vehicles of American advisers.
Hizb-e-Islami is headed by 65-year-old former warlord Gubuddin Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister and one-time U.S. ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington. The militia has thousands of fighters and followers across the country's north and east.
Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon contributed from Kabul.