Four soldiers near 218th post injured in suicide bombing

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (WIS/AP) - Four soldiers suffered injuries during a bomb attack near the base serving as headquarters for members of South Carolina National Guard's 218th Brigade Combat Team.

The soldiers' convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber just outside of their home base, Camp Phoenix. We do not know if they were South Carolina members.

According to a news release from Afghanistan, the US convoy was attacked on Jalabad Road near the base. The blast killed the bomber. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

For a Midlands family, this attack hit too close for comfort.

For almost three months - South Carolina guard brigadier General Bob Livingston has been in Afghanistan - trying to build that country's military and police forces. Doing it, instead of being home in Gaston, closer to his family and running his electrical contracting company.

His father, Bob Livingston Sr., says he's not surprised his son wants to be where he is now. "He believes so much in the cause of why he's over there. He knows that he's there to help the people. And he knows that they are helping the people."

General Livingston is in charge of Task Force Phoenix. It's part of the South Carolina Guard's 218th Brigade Combat Team - and headquartered at Camp Phoenix just outside Kabul.

Tuesday morning, the bomber blew himself up near the camp's main gate. The attack wounded three Afghan civilians and four US soldiers. Two US soldiers were flown to the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at the Bagram Airfield and two were treated at Camp Phoenix.

We're told all families that have relatives involved in the incident have been informed.

General Livingston was not one of the injured. But his father remains concerned. "You never know what the safe area is over there, I wouldn't think," says the elder Livingston. "We're very aware that that phone call could come. There's no question about that. This is with any of them over there."

The general issued a statement calling the incident a "harsh reminder" that coalition forces need to stay vigilant.

At their insurance business in West Columbia, his parents worry about a son they say likes danger and insists on being close to his troops. "We know that he is not in a safe, comfortable place which I'm sure there are some over there. But that's not Bob. He's out with the troops."

This is General Livingston's first deployment to the war zone. He's served in the guard almost three decades. And he has a very tough job ahead - as indicated by the confusion that erupted immediately after the suicide bombing.

An Afghan police official told the Associated Press when he and his men arrived at the scene, someone started shooting at them. One Afghan officer was killed.

A witness told the AP the gunfire was coming from American soldiers. Interior Ministry spokesman Zemerai Bashary said the shooting was the result of a "misunderstanding" between forces at the scene of the suicide attack and new troops trying to get to the scene.

A U.S.-led coalition spokesman said he would have to investigate before commenting.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie with AP

Posted by Bryce Mursch

Copyright 2007 Raycom Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.