KABUL/ROME (Reuters/AFP) - A suicide car bomber killed at least 16 people, including six Italian soldiers, in an attack on a military convoy on a road in the centre of Kabul on Thursday, the worst strike suffered by Italians in Afghanistan. In the suicide car bomb attack today, 10 civilians were martyred and another 55 civilians were wounded, the spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP. Twenty-one shops have been destroyed, seven vehicles have been destroyed, he said, condemning the attack. In Rome, the Italian defence ministry confirmed that six Italian soldiers died in the blast. The attack caused shock in Italy at a time when European leaders have been scrambling to reassure people sceptical of their countries roles in an 8-year-old war that has reached its most violent phase. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said his government was close to the families of the victims, sharing their pain in this tragic moment, and expresses its solidarity to all the members of the Italian mission in Afghanistan who are working to uphold democracy and freedom in that unfortunate country. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a text message sent from a telephone number used by a Taliban spokesman. Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy said 10 Afghan civilians were killed and 52 wounded. At the scene, Afghan troops ferried wounded civilians to ambulances near several wrecked Italian military vehicles. The body of at least one dead Italian soldier could be seen lying in the street in front of an armoured truck that bore an Italian flag. Other body parts were scattered near the scene. The chassis of an exploded car had landed dozens of yards away. I was shopping when I heard a deafening explosion, said witness Shah Mohammad, an elderly man at the site of the blast. Italys parliament held a minutes silence in honour of the victims but political debate over the mission quickly resumed. Most of the conservative government and the main centre-left opposition broadly support the Afghan mission. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said pulling out Italian troops would mean surrendering to the logic of terrorism. The far left restated demands for an immediate withdrawal. The Italian military contingents presence in Afghanistan is the fruit of a mistaken policy and strategy, said Italian communist leader Paolo Ferrero. Pope Benedict expressed his prayers for the victims and solidarity with their families, a Vatican spokesman said.