NATO troops killed in Kabul suicide attack

A deadly suicide attack on NATO forces in the Afghan capitol of Kabul claimed the lives of three members of the international force on Friday. 

Several Afghan civilians were also injured in the attack, which targeted an alliance convoy travelling through the eastern part of the city, according to recent reports

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying a solo suicide bomber rammed the NATO convoy just as it was leaving Camp Phoenix, a U.S. military base six miles from Kabul International Airport. 

The bombing was the latest in a series of attacks focused on the Afghan capitol in recent days. 

Afghan insurgents launched an attack against the U.S. Embassy in Kabul on Christmas Day. Indirect fire hit the embassy in Afghanistan’s capital before dawn as two rounds struck the embassy compound.

No Americans were killed in the attack and U.S. officials were still investigating the circumstances surrounding the strike, an embassy official told the Associated Press. 

“All Americans are accounted for, and no injuries were sustained,” the official told the AP.

The recent spike in violence comes as Washington and Kabul continue to be at odds over a postwar plan for the country. 

The postwar plan, known inside the Pentagon as the bilateral security agreement (BSA), was presented by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the Loya Jirga, an assembly of the Afghanistan's most powerful tribal leaders, in November. 

All American combat troops in the country are slated to withdraw from Afghanistan by January 2014, but Karzai has said Kabul may not ratify the BSA until after the country's presidential elections, slated for April 2014. 

A delay in BSA approval ties the White House's hands in terms of finalizing troop numbers for a post-2014 force. 

The Obama White House is considering a 9,000- to 10,000-man postwar force for Afghanistan to ensure security gains by American and NATO forces in the country are maintained after the 2014 drawdown. 

The American units would be part of a NATO-led postwar force that could total upwards of 15,000 Western troops, primarily used to train Afghan forces and execute targeted counterterrorism operations against the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militant extremist groups operating in the country.