KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide car bomber attacked a NATO convoy moving through Afghanistan's capital Sunday, killing at least four civilians and wounding more than 35 in an assault claimed by the Taliban, authorities said. The blast struck two MRAPs, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles, in western Kabul, damaging a civilian car and leaving debris scattered across a highway lined by shops. NATO troops and Afghan soldiers cordoned off the scene after the blast. Hashmat Stanikzai, a spokesman for Kabul's police chief, said the blast killed four civilians and wounded more than 35 people. NATO later said the blast wounded none of its troops, though it was investigating the attack.
"We sincerely regret the loss of the lives and injury to innocent Afghan civilians caused by the insurgents in this tragic incident." NATO said in a statement to The Associated Press. Mohammad Amin, who had brought his wife to a nearby hospital for a checkup at the time of the blast, said he helped four wounded people to the hospital. "The explosion was so strong and many people were killed and wounded," he said. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the bombing in a message to journalists. The Taliban has promised to step up attacks against Afghan security forces in a bid to undermine the Western-backed government as foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw by the end of the year. Civilians increasingly find themselves under fire as the 2001 U.S.-led war draws to a close, as Afghan forces take the lead in operations targeting the Taliban.