Suicide bomber injures Afghan in attack on Canadian troops

Canadian soldiers escaped injury on Wednesday when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle in a Canadian military convoy in Afghanistan.

Canadian soldiers escaped injury on Wednesday when a suicide bomberrammed a vehicle ina Canadian military convoy in Afghanistan.

Theattack injured one Afghan civilian and damaged a Canadian military vehicle, a RG-31 Nyala heavily armoured jeep,in Kandahar. No troops were injured.

The bomber died in the attack.

The convoy was driving from the countryside through the city of Kandahar on its way to the main NATO base at Kandahar airfield when the bomber, driving what appeared to be a minivan in front of the convoy, pulled over, turned around and drove into one of the convoy vehicles. The bomber detonated an explosive when he hit the side of the military vehicle.

The soldiers inthe targeted vehiclesaid it happened suddenly and quickly.

"They said it all happened extremely fast. A bright flash of light, a dull thud, and then it was over," said CBC reporter Chris Brown in Kandahar. "None of the Canadians involved in theconvoy were hurt, but it was a very, very close call."

After the attack, the entire convoy made a slight detour to go to the nearest secure place for Canadian troops and drove to the provincial reconstruction headquarters about a kilometre away in Kandahar City.

"The vehicle itself — we saw whenit came in — was damaged. It was smoking, but itwas under its own steam,"Brown said.

Canadian soldiers in the vehicle were shaken after the attack, but relieved no Canadian troops were injured.

"We noticed the vehicle pull up. Next thing we knew, it blew up. And we kept on driving," Cpl. John Makela told reporters.

Another Canadian soldier expressed frustrations at the hit-and-run tactics used by the Taliban. "I just feel like this is not a stand-up fight. They won't fight out in the open. We have no recourse but to take it," Sgt. Christopher Murdy said.

The Canadian Forces sent 50 Nyalas to Afghanistan in April. The vehicles are designed to withstand landmine blasts.

Meanwhile, Afghan security forces said they killed 25 suspected insurgents in fighting that broke out after an attack ona police checkpoint in southern Helmand province on Wednesday.

The attacks came on the same day that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf were scheduled to meet U.S. President George Bush for dinner at the White House.

Canada has more than 2,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the majority stationed in Kandahar. Thirty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since Canada first sent troops there in early 2002.