Afghan officials: Truck bomb kills 5, wounds 45

October 26, 2011 - 12:00 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb hidden inside a fuel truck in a central Afghan province exploded as scores of people gathered around the vehicle to collect fuel that was leaking, killing at least five in a blast that shattered a period of relative quiet in the war-ravaged nation, officials said Wednesday.

The explosion, around 8 p.m. Tuesday, occurred in Parwan province, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the capital, Kabul. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the blast represents the first major attack since an assault on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last month.

Dozens had gathered around the fuel truck to collect fuel that was leaking, said Kabir Ahmad, the district chief of Parwan province's Bagram district. Suddenly, the truck exploded, he said.

At least three people were killed at the scene, said Khalil Farhangi, the province's hospital chief.

Kabir Amiri, who oversees all of Kabul's hospitals, says 47 people were wounded and two of them subsequently died, raising the death toll to five so far. He said at least about 10 people suffered extensive burns.

The al-Qaida and Taliban-linked Haqqani network, which operates out of Pakistan, have been blamed for many of the recent spectacular attacks in and around Kabul.

The U.S. and Afghanistan have urged Pakistan to do more to rein in or combat the network, and NATO earlier this month launched a major operation involving tens of thousands of coalition and Afghan forces to target insurgents along Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan.