Taliban take credit for bomb that killed American, Afghans
December 14, 2012 -- Updated 1821 GMT (0221 HKT)
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, center, visits Afghanistan's Kandahar airfield Thursday.
- One American, two Afghans died in attack near airfield
- U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta left Kandahar hours before blast
- "Brave Taliban fighter" detonated the bomb, the group says
- Panetta, Obama invited Karzai to visit Washington early next year
(CNN) -- At least three people died when a suicide bomb exploded near Afghanistan's Kandahar airfield Thursday, hours after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had left the city.
One American was killed and three others were wounded, Panetta said. Two Afghan civilians were killed and 18 others were wounded, said Jawid Faisal, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, in the country's violent southern region.
The attack struck an MRAP, the acronym for a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle used by U.S. forces, as it was about to enter the base.
Panetta: Remarkable success vs. al Qaeda
Berndt: Afghan forces will be ready
Koofi: I could be attacked in my home
A family separated by war in Afghanistan
The Taliban claimed responsibility, the group's spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said in an e-mail CNN obtained. He wrote that a "brave Taliban fighter" carried out the attack. The e-mail did not specify whether the explosion was connected to Panetta's visit.
Who are the Pakistani Taliban?
The defense secretary's delegation was never in danger, said a U.S. official traveling with Panetta.
The bomb went off about 5 p.m. local time and targeted "a foreign forces convoy."
Coalition spokesman Lt. Col. Hagen Messer confirmed the bombing, saying International Security Assistance Force investigators were at the scene.
"I don't know at this point if this was in any way linked to our visit," said the U.S. official traveling with Panetta.
Pentagon press secretary George Little confirmed that the explosion from was a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, a term used for a car bomb.
President Barack Obama and Panetta invited Afghan President Harmid Karzai to visit Washington early next year to discuss the volatile security situation. Panetta said Karzai appeared willing to visit but didn't say whether the president accepted the invitation.
Panetta made the comments after meeting with Karzai in Kabul, and a U.S. official released a formal statement about that possible visit, which may come in January.
What does the future hold for Afghanistan?
Karzai and Obama "look forward to discussing a shared vision of Afghanistan beyond 2014," the statement read.
The meeting will be an important opportunity to discuss implementation of the strategic partnership signed by the two leaders about U.S. military presence in the country, it explained.
"As we consider our post-2014 military and civilian presence, it is important that we work closely with President Karzai to understand his views about how we can best support his country while we pursue our core objectives and responsibly wind down the war," the statement said. "As (President Obama) has already made clear, any U.S. presence would only be at the invitation of the Afghan government and aimed at training Afghan Forces and targeting the remnants of al-Qaeda."
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories