KABUL, Afghanistan -- An explosion heard across Kabul on Tuesday morning appeared aimed at killing a prominent ethnic Hazara politician as he was traveling in his armored convoy. The politician survived, but at least three civilians were killed, according to the Kabul police.
The attack happened as the American-led NATO coalition prepared to officially shift responsibility for all security in Afghanistan to government forces in a ceremony on the outskirts of Kabul, the nation's capital, on Tuesday.
The politician who was the apparent target of the attack, Hajji Muhammad Mohaqeq, is a leader of one of the two main Hazara political factions. The Hazaras are an ethnic minority who follow the Shiite branch of Islam.
Mr. Mohaqeq's three-vehicle convoy had just driven past the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission office on the west side of the capital when it was hit by the explosion.
"I was riding in my vehicle together with my escort, my security guards, when a huge explosion took place," Mr. Mohaqeq said. "All the windshields, doors and the vehicle were completely destroyed. I saw black smoke and flames, and nothing could be seen. Thank God -- I don't know how I survived."
Four of his security guards were wounded, he said.
The head of Kabul's criminal investigations division, Gen. Mohammed Zahir, said the police believed that the cause of the explosion was a roadside bomb planted to kill Mr. Mohaqeq.
He said the blast had wounded 30 people, including Mr. Mohaqeq's guards.
While such roadside bombs are commonly used by insurgents in Afghanistan, there have been relatively few such bombings inside Kabul, a heavily populated city, because it is hard to bury or hide them without passers-by noticing. Most Kabul attacks have involved suicide bombers and gunmen.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.