By David Gura

A car, carrying more than a thousand pounds of munitions, swerved into an American convoy driving toward a base in Western Kabul. The ensuing explosion killed at least 12 people, NPR's Quil Lawrence reports, adding that an unknown number of individuals have been injured:

American soldiers carried away bodies near an eight-food crater. The bomb completely destroyed two armored SUV's, causing one to roll several times. It also wrecked several civilian vehicles and a passenger bus, and scattered fragments of the car bomb for a quarter mile in every direction. Women and children are among the dead.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast, which Lawrence says seems to be part of a campaign to being insurgent violence, usually confined to the countryside, to the Afghan capital."

Some other stories making headlines this morning:

--The New York Times--"Candidate's Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History":
In a story released last night, a reporter for The Times raises questions about discrepancies between Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's rhetoric and record. It begins with a quotation from a speech he gave two years ago: "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam," Blumenthal begins. "There was one problem, Hernandez writes. "Mr. Blumenthal, now a Democrat running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records."

NPR's Lynn Neary spoke with the reporter, Raymond Hernandez, on Morning Edition today. He said that Blumenthal's records show that his deferments gave him the opportunity "to attend Harvard for four years; to travel to London on a fellowship; to come back to the States and work for Katharine Graham, the legendary publisher of The Washington Post, as her special assistant."

On his blog, NPR political editor Ken Rudin says "it's too soon to tell whether the story that The New York Times broke Monday evening will have legs; at the very least, it's raising eyebrows."

It is pretty remarkable that for someone like Blumenthal, who has spent nearly three decades in state politics, the question of service in Vietnam has never been checked.

--BBC--"Thailand government rejects Bangkok protest talks offer":
After five days of violence, "Thailand's government has rejected an offer of mediated talks with red-shirt protesters aimed at ending an increasingly violent confrontation," the broadcasting service reports. NPR's Michael Sullivan, on the ground in Bangkok, says that unrest continues -- even as some protest leaders express their willingness to negotiate to stop it."

--The Washington Post--"Primaries may help foreshadow November elections":
Voters are heading to the polls in several states today, including Pennsylvania, where Rep. Joe Sestak is challenging Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA); Kentucky, where Rand Paul is facing Trey Grayson; and Arkansas, where Bill Halter is trying to unseat incumbent Blanche Lincoln. NPR has reporters in the ground in all three states. The Post's headline (above) says it all: politicians and pundits will read these election results like tea leaves.

Reporter Dan Balz warns that "the results are not likely to offer a single satisfying answer to how big Democratic losses might be in November."

Rather, Tuesday's voters will drop clues on a variety of questions, about anti-incumbent sentiment, 'tea party' power and presidential popularity.

The staff at Politico has a list of "what to watch in Tuesday's primaries."

--The Miami Herald--"Tar balls found along shore in Key West":
According to The Herald, last night, the Coast Guard reported that rangers from the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West discovered 20 tar balls, which could be from the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

categories: Afghanistan

7:01 - May 18, 2010