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U.S. military officers among Afghan dead

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Taliban claim Afghan blast attack
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Five U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan are identified
  • British Foreign Office put civilian death toll at 19
RELATED TOPICS
  • Afghanistan
  • Terrorism

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Department officials have identified five U.S. soldiers, including a colonel and two lieutenant colonels, killed by a suicide bomb in Afghanistan's capital this week.

The Tuesday blast killed at least a dozen civilians, five U.S. troops and a Canadian service member, officials said. It occurred on a busy road near a NATO-led military convoy and a registration center for the Afghan Army.

The five U.S. soldiers are Col. John M. McHugh, 46, of New Jersey; Lt. Col. Paul R. Bartz, 43, of Wisconsin; Lt. Col. Thomas P. Belkofer, 44, of Ohio; Staff Sgt. Richard J. Tieman, 28, of Pennsylvania; and Spc. Joshua A. Tomlinson, 24, of Louisiana.

U.S. defense officials confirmed the five deaths, and Canadian forces confirmed the death of their service member. Local medical officials said at least 12 civilians were killed and 48 injured.

The British Foreign Office put the civilian death toll at 19.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that five U.S. military vehicles were destroyed along with 13 civilian cars. One of the civilian cars was a bus filled with people, a spokesman said.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed the operation and said the attacker was able to "destroy five foreign vehicles and damage one more."

The U.S. Embassy decried the attack, saying it demonstrates the Taliban's "callous disregard for the well-being of the Afghan people."

CNN's Atia Abawi contributed to this report.

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