A 14-year-old suicide bomber attacked NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, killing six civilians and wounding five, including children. No soldiers were struck. The teenage attacker was wearing a vest packed with explosives, and rode up to the building on a bike before detonating. Although the Taliban claimed initial responsibility for the attack, they say the bomber was a 28-year-old and the target was the CIA's Kabul offices. The latest attack highlights militants' abilities to strike even the most secure parts of the Afghan capital, worrying officials.
Hashmat Stanikzai, a police spokesperson, said the dead and wounded were all street sellers aged between 12 and 17.
Street children routinely gather outside NATO headquarters to peddle small trinkets and sweets, looking out for soldiers leaving or getting into the base.
Pieces of flesh and splattered blood lay on the street near the base, where small bodies were seen being lifted into ambulances, witnesses said.
"I was here when the blast occurred. I saw some wounded children on the ground. The wounded [were] transferred to emergency hospital for treatment and I heard that three of the injured children have died," said Ahmad Sameer, a witness.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) condemned the use of children. "Forcing underage youth to do their dirty work again proves the insurgency's despicable tactics," said spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul said in a statement that using "the most impressionable and vulnerable", such as a teenager, to carry out such attacks revealed the true nature of the insurgents.