KABUL, Afghanistan -- Two suicide bombers on Wednesday struck a staging area for supply trucks waiting to enter NATO's biggest base in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people and injuring dozens of others. All the dead were believed to be civilians.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place about four miles from NATO's sprawling Kandahar airfield, in a crowded area of small shops clustered around a truck stop. The base lies east of Kandahar city, which is the main urban hub of southern Afghanistan and the traditional home base of the Taliban movement.
Ahmad Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the Kandahar governor, said the first attacker approached the busy bazaar by motorcycle in the late morning, setting off a powerful blast that killed and maimed scores of passersby, truck drivers and shopkeepers.
After the initial detonation, people rushed to help victims and were themselves caught up in a second explosion, triggered by a bomber on foot, Faisal said.
The NATO force did not immediately respond to queries about whether any coalition troops were involved in responding to the attack. The Taliban claimed that Afghan and foreign forces were among the dead, but the movement routinely exaggerates the military casualties its operatives are able to inflict.
-- Laura King and Aimal Yaqubi
Photo: An Afghan man inspects a motorcycle used in a suicide attack in a parking lot holding dozens of trucks supplying the NATO-run Kandahar airfield. Credit: Jangir Strdel / Getty Images