A Taliban suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a NATO convoy close to the U.S. embassy in Kabul on Tuesday, killing three soldiers and wounding at least 13 Afghan civilians, Naharnet Newsdesk reported.
At the side of the road, U.S. and Polish troops gave first-aid to blood-stained comrades beside the wrecked remains of a military vehicle, but the nationality of the dead soldiers was not confirmed.
The massive blast occurred at about 8:00 am (0330 GMT) during heavy rush-hour traffic outside the Supreme Court and on a main road leading to the heavily-fortified U.S. embassy.
"We can confirm three International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members died as a result of an enemy attack in Kabul today," the NATO coalition said in a statement.
"It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities."
The blast shook nearby buildings as emergency vehicles raced through the streets to the scene on a main road that NATO convoys use every day.
"It was a suicide car bomber," Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai told Agence France Presse.
"Our initial reports show 13 civilians were wounded and 17 civilian cars were damaged.
"Some civilians were treated on the scene, and some were taken to the hospital."
The NATO force has now 41,000 troops in Afghanistan, with about 29,000 from the U.S. and just 300 from Poland.
All NATO combat soldiers will withdraw by December after 13 years of fighting the Taliban, with a follow-on mission of about 12,000 troops likely to stay on into 2015 on training and support duties.
The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack via a recognized Twitter account.
"(A) powerful explosion destroyed 1 military vehicle, killing/wounding a number of American terrorists," said Taliban spokesman Abdulqahar Balkhi.