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Bombing Heightens Security Woes Before Afghan Election

A suicide bombing in Kabul killed at least 10 people Tuesday, just two days before the Afghanistan's presidential vote. ITN presents a pair of reports on efforts to secure the vote.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    The security situation in Afghanistan deteriorated today after a suicide attack in Kabul killed at least eight people and injured 55 more. Earlier, the presidential palace was damaged in a round of mortar attacks.

    John Ray of Independent Television News begins our lead story coverage.

  • JOHN RAY:

    No matter how often it happens, it never becomes routine. Kabul today, and a thick plume of smoke rises on the skyline. A suicide bomb — huge in size, packed in a car — detonated as a coalition convoy passed by.

    The walking wounded were led away, but amid the wreckage many dead and badly injured. The casualties include NATO soldiers, but from which nation has not yet been revealed.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility. Their message, that they can pick and choose their targets at will.

    This attack happened within a mile or so of the main British base here. There was considerable confusion and no little panic at the scene, not least because police believe there may be as many as three more suicide bombers on the loose.

    The grim task of recovering bodies, such was the force of the blast that some were blown onto rooftops, and we found this razor-sharp slice of metal 100 meters from the scene.

    The police chief told us foreign troops were the target, but as so often, the killers netted more of their own countrymen. Today's attack took place on the Jalalabad Road, the main military supply route in and out of Afghanistan. It comes as the Taliban intensify their attacks on the capital and follows Saturday's bombing of NATO's headquarters.

    HUMAYUM HAMIDZADI, presidential spokesman: The people of Afghanistan will not let this opportunity to decide their future leadership go from them, and they will not allow the terrorists to derail them.

  • JOHN RAY:

    As British troops secured the scene, coalition commanders said nothing would weaken their resolve. But two days from the election, few places feel truly safe.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The violence was not limited to Kabul. The U.S. military reported two American troops were killed and three wounded in a roadside bombing in the eastern part of the country. Twenty-six American troops have been killed so far this month.

    NATO announced its forces will not launch any counteroffensive on Election Day, and the Afghan government has asked news organizations to refrain from reporting on any Election Day violence.

    Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News traveled to the district of Nad Ali in Helmand province to file this report on efforts to secure the vote.