Six Americans -- two soldiers and four civilian contractors -- are among at least 14 people killed in a massive car bomb blast in Kabul this morning, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.
More than 30 Afghan civilians, including a number of children, were wounded.
The attack happened just after 8 a.m. The bomber drove a car filled with explosives directly into a military convoy as it drove through the city. The explosion was so powerful it reduced a series of vehicles to piles of twisted, mangled metal, and set nearby buildings on fire. The scene was quickly secured by NATO troops, as fires smoldered on the freshly blackened street. Some of the bodies were so badly burned they were difficult to identify.
"We saw two dead bodies of children on the ground," Deputy Police Chief Daud Amin told the Associated Press. "The rest of the bodies were scattered in pieces around."
The militant group Hezb-Islami, run by notorious Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, quickly claimed responsibility, saying they targeted a convoy carrying American military advisers. A statement by the group's spokesperson says it has formed a special cell to carry out attacks on U.S. targets
Hekmatyar, though not affiliated with the Taliban, has been waging a violent campaign against U.S. troops in Afghanistan for several years. Hekmatyar himself is a former prime minister and key U.S. ally who fought against the Soviets, but is now on the U.S. State Department's terror list. His group maintains a formal presence in Afghan politics, with members affiliated with his group currently in Afghanistan's parliament.
Last September, his group claimed responsibility for another attack that killed 12 foreign contractors working for an airline in Kabul.