A suicide bomber this morning rammed a small sedan into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to Kabul airport, killing nine people.
The bomber has been named by Afghan insurgents as Fatima, 22, who was reportedly wearing a suicide vest and blew herself up on a large avenue northwest of the city centre near the airport.
Islamist group Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman Haroon Zarghoon, saying it was launched in retaliation for a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad.
The other person killed was believed to be Afghan – possibly a driver or translator for the group.
The blast, which went off in front of a petrol station, was so powerful it hurled the mini-bus about 50 metres.
Reports from the scene said at least six bodies lay next to the destroyed mini-van.
Eight Afghan workers were also said to have been injured in the blast.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi confirmed the death toll and said tests were being carried out to determine if the suicide bomber was a woman.
An eyewitness at the scene said he was waiting for a bus to go to work at 6.45am when he saw a small white sedan ram into the mini-bus.
‘The explosion was so powerful and loud that I could not hear anything for 10 minutes,’ said Abdullah Shah, a teacher waiting at a bus stop. ‘It was early and there wasn’t much traffic.’
The bombing came a day after hundreds of Afghans burned cars and threw rocks at a US military base in the capital in a demonstration against the anti-Islam film.
One police vehicle was burned by the mob before they finally dispersed around midday yesterday.
Hizb-i-Islami is led by former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The group has recently sought to participate in a so-far fruitless peace and reconciliation effort led by President Hamid Karzai.
As part of the group’s effort, it offered a peace plan that called for a broad-based government. Hizb-i-Islami is a radical Islamist militia that has thousands of fighters and followers across the north and east of Afghanistan.
Its 65-year-old leader is a former Afghan prime minister and one-time US ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington.
The Taliban have also threatened to increase their attacks against foreign targets to avenge the controversial film.
Taliban fighters last week attacked a large British base in southern Afghanistan, killed two US Marines and destroyed six fighter jets. Nato forces killed 14 insurgents and captured another who participated in the attack.