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Suicide bombers strike near US base in Kabul, killing 2 guards

KABUL — A pair of suicide bombers in Afghan military uniforms penetrated the most heavily guarded district of this capital early Wednesday, killing two Afghan security guards and wounding five civilians in blasts at a checkpoint near the main US military headquarters and half a dozen other international facilities.

Police officials said the bombers’ target was probably Camp Eggers, the large US military compound that occupies several square blocks of the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood. But a spokesman for the radical Islamist Taliban movement said the attack was aimed at a CIA compound and that ‘‘a large number’’ of insurgents had participated.

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The attack during morning rush hour quickly emptied the streets of the normally congested city. It immediately intensified public worries of violence during the Shi’ite Muslim holy period of Moharram, which will peak Sunday with street processions and ritual self-flagellation.

Last year during Moharram, a terrorist bombing near a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul killed 54.

But Afghan officials noted that the bombers targeted a district dominated by foreign and official buildings, embassies, and bases, which is nowhere near any Shi’ite neighborhoods or activities.

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