Taliban Suicide Bomber Strikes NATO Convoy

Taliban Suicide Bomber Strikes NATO ConvoyTaliban Suicide Bomber Strikes NATO Convoy

A Taliban suicide car bomb targeted a NATO convoy in eastern Afghanistan Friday, killing at least three civilians as security forces brace for the start of the Taliban’s traditional spring offensive.

Separately, 12 civilians onboard a minivan were killed Friday when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the militant-plagued southeastern province of Ghazni, AFP reported.

Taliban insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks on government and foreign targets since Washington announced a delay in troop withdrawals from Afghanistan last month.

The attack on the NATO convoy in Jalalabad city comes a day after 18 people were killed when Taliban insurgents mounted a six-hour gun and grenade siege on a courthouse in the usually tranquil northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

“In the morning today a foreign forces convoy came under a suicide attack near the airport in Jalalabad city,” provincial police spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal told AFP.

He added that three civilians were killed and four others were wounded in the attack in Jalalabad, which is home to an important US military base.

Roadside bombs -- like the one in Ghazni -- have been a weapon of choice for the Taliban in their 13-year war against foreign and Afghan forces, though the militants seldom admit blame for attacks resulting in civilian casualties.

The Taliban, however, claimed responsibility for the NATO convoy in Jalalabad as Afghan forces brace for what is expected to be a bloody summer push by the insurgents.