A suicide bomber has rammed a car packed with explosives into a mini-bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport in the Afghan capital, killing at least nine people in an attack a militant group said was revenge for an anti-Islam film that ridicules the Prophet Mohammed.
The criminal director for the Kabul police department, Mohammad Zahir, said eight men believed to be foreign nationals working for an aviation company at the airport died in the blast and 10 Afghan bystanders were wounded. The other person killed was believed to be Afghan.
Haroon Zarghoon, a spokesman for the Islamist militant group Hizb-i-Islami, claimed responsibility for the dawn attack in an email.
He said it was carried out by a 22-year-old woman named Fatima. It was the first reported suicide car bombing to be carried out by a woman in Afghanistan.
It came a day after hundreds of Afghans burned cars and threw rocks at a US military base in the capital in a demonstration against the an anti-Islam film. One police vehicle was burned by the mob before they finally dispersed around midday on Monday.
Kabul police chief General Mohammad Ayub Salangi said the explosion took place near an avenue north west of the city centre near Kabul International Airport. The blast, which went off in front of a petrol station, was so powerful it hurled the mini-bus at least several yards.
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi confirmed the death toll and said tests were being carried out to determine if the suicide bomber was a woman.
A witness at the scene described how he saw a small white sedan ram into the mini-bus. "The explosion was so powerful and loud that I could not hear anything for 10 minutes," said Abdullah Shah, a teacher waiting at a bus stop.
Hizb-i-Islami is led by former warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The group is a radical Islamist militia that has thousands of fighters and followers across the north and east of Afghanistan. Its 65-year-old leader is a former Afghan prime minister and one-time US ally who is now listed as a terrorist by Washington.
The Taliban have also threatened to increase their attacks against foreign targets to avenge the controversial film. Taliban fighters last week attacked a large British base in southern Afghanistan, killed two US Marines and destroyed six fighter jets. Nato forces killed 14 insurgents and captured another who participated in the attack.