KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber struck Kabul's first Western-style shopping mall Monday, killing two security guards at the entrance in the second attack in less than a month targeting a site frequented by foreigners and upscale Afghans in the heavily secured capital.
The Ministry of Interior said the bomber detonated his explosives at the gates of the Kabul City Center shopping mall, which also houses the four-star Safi Landmark hotel. Two people were wounded in the blast.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Government officials, businesspeople and foreigners regularly hold meetings at the Safi Landmark. It was heavily damaged a year ago when suicide attackers struck two residential hotels nearby, killing 20 people, including nine foreigners. After that attack, shops at the center, which sell jewelry, electronics and clothing, were closed for months.
Shopkeepers nearby said Monday's damage appeared to be confined to the guarded entrance area of the mall, which was fortified shortly after last year's attack.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the bombing, which he said was aimed at civilians. "Targeting a nonmilitary location shows how desperate and hopeless the enemies of Afghanistan have become," Karzai said in a statement.
SERVICE MEMBER KILLED: NATO said a homemade bomb killed a coalition service member in southern Afghanistan. It didn't provide the service member's nationality. Also Monday, the British Ministry of Defense said two soldiers from the Royal Logistic Corps were killed in Helmand province. A total of 14 NATO troops have been killed this month.