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NATO mandate in Afghanistan extended

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: U.N. Security Council condemns Kabul attack, calls for justice
  • NEW: Resolution does not address troop numbers; comes hours after Kabul attack
  • Bombing near Indian Embassy in Kabul killed at least 17 people
  • NATO's new leader Rasmussen recently announced training of Afghan police
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution extending the mandate of NATO-led military forces in Afghanistan for a year, hours after a deadly bombing near the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

Afghan policemen inspect the site of a suicide car bomb explosion near the Indian Embassy.

The bomb exploded in the center of Kabul on the corner of Passport Lane and the Indian Embassy.

The suicide car bomb attack on Thursday left at least 17 people dead, most of them civilians, and 63 wounded.

"I think this is another reminder of the dangers that the Taliban pose to the Afghan population and to the international community in Afghanistan, and the importance of the continued international efforts there," said John Sawers, Britain's ambassador to the world body, after the resolution was passed.

The council provides international legal approval for the deployment of NATO troops to assist in the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

The resolution, however, did not address troop numbers, an issue that has generated controversy since the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, requested an additional 40,000 troops.

The Security Council also condemned the attack, calling for the "perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of this reprehensible act of terrorism" to be brought to justice.

In addition to extending the mandate, the resolution stressed the need to bolster Afghan security forces to help them become self-sufficient in protecting their country.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's new leader, recently announced that NATO forces would begin training Afghan police and increase training of the Afghan National Army.

Some 90,000 international forces are deployed in Afghanistan, with 35,000 serving with NATO and 65,000 with the United States.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Thursday bombing, saying an Afghan national in a sport utility vehicle carried out the attack.

The bomber had intended to strike the embassy, Indian officials said. Video Watch what a local shopkeeper says about the area »

"The suicide attack(er) ... attempted (to go) through one of the embassy gates," Vishnu Prakash, spokesman for India's external affairs ministry, told CNN on Thursday. "The embassy was the target."

The bomb went off about 8:30 a.m., just as offices and shops were opening for the day. The force of the blast shattered some of the embassy's windows, according to Prakash.

The bombing came a year after a similar deadly attack outside the Indian Embassy.

The Thursday attack killed 17 -- most of them civilians -- and 63 were wounded, Interior Ministry spokesman Ezmary Bashary said.

The Taliban said the attack killed 35 people, including high-ranking Indian Embassy officials, as well as international and Afghan police officers.

The blast damaged a security checkpoint outside the the embassy, said staffer J.P. Singh, but "there were no casualties on the Indian side."

The embassy is in the center of Kabul, in a shop-lined street across from the Interior Ministry and several other government buildings.

The explosion shattered car windows and toppled restaurant walls. Paramedics dug through twisted metal and debris, looking for survivors.

A statement from President Hamid Karzai's office called the blast an obvious assault on civilians and said "the perpetrators of this attack and those who planned it were vicious terrorists who killed innocent people for their malicious goals."

About a year ago, another suicide car bomb detonated outside the embassy. Among the 58 people killed in the July 7, 2008, attack were two Indian diplomats and 14 students at a nearby school.

More than 100 were wounded in that blast.

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Afghan and Indian officials accused Pakistan's spy agency of involvement in that attack. Pakistan denied the accusation.

India is the sixth largest donor to Afghanistan, providing millions of dollars to help with reconstruction efforts there.

CNN's Atia Abawi and Harmeet Shah Singh and Lena Shemel contributed to this report.

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