Suicide attack wounded 5 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan

HERAT, Afghanistan (Reuters) – A suicide car bomber struck international troops near the western Afghan city of Herat Saturday, wounding five soldiers, officials said.

Bomb attacks are relatively rare in or near Herat, one of the most peaceful and prosperous cities in Afghanistan and the main hub for booming trade with nearby Iran.

The bomber struck as a convoy of foreign troops was driving from the airport on the outskirts of Herat, regional police chief Rahmataullah Safai said.

A spokesman for NATO-led force in western Afghanistan said five soldiers were wounded, and one of their military vehicle was damaged in the attack.

Most ISAF troops in Herat are Italian.

Taliban militants have launched dozens of suicide bomb attacks this year, about half of them aimed at international troop convoys.

But only some 4 percent of the victims are foreign soldiers, and the vast majority of those killed, some 80 percent, are Afghan civilians, security experts say.

Afghanistan is suffering the worst level of violence since U.S.-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban in 2001 for refusing to give up al Qaeda leaders behind the September 11 attacks.

The austere Islamist Taliban have both intensified the number of their attacks and extended their influence into areas hitherto relatively untouched by the violence raging in the mainly Pashtun south and east of the country.

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