Bombings, including attack on U.S. troops, kill 13

Amir Shah
Associated Press

Kabul, Afghanistan — A suicide car bomber targeting a convoy of U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan killed three Afghan civilians and wounded four on Friday, while in another eastern province, 10 people were killed when their minivan hit a roadside bomb, officials said.

The international aid group Save the Children meanwhile said five of its local staff who had been abducted several weeks ago were found dead in the southern Uruzgan province.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the convoy attack, which took place near the U.S. military base not far from the airport in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

No American soldiers were wounded in the bombing, said Hazrat Hussain Mashraqiwal, the spokesman for the provincial police chief.

The attack happened outside the gates of the base as the convoy was returning from an early patrol, according to an official at the base who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

The area is built up, with residential housing mixed with retail outlets, mostly selling vehicles. Friday is the weekend in Afghanistan and the area is typically bustling with people.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgent group was behind the attack.

The bombing came just two days after an Afghan soldier turned his weapon on American troops at the Nangarhar provincial governor’s compound, about 8 miles from the U.S. base. One U.S. soldier was killed and eight others were wounded in the attack.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s assault, which was the first so-called “insider attack” to target NATO troops since they ended their combat mission at the start of the year.

Also Friday, 10 people were killed when a minivan they were traveling in hit a roadside bomb in the remote eastern Ghazni province, according to Deputy Gov. Mohammad Ali Ahmadi.

Zubaida Akbar, senior communications manager with Save the Children in Afghanistan, confirmed to The Associated Press that five staff members had been killed.

“We confirm that five of our staff members were abducted about five weeks ago. Today we have received news that they have been killed,” she said.

She would provide no further details except to say that all five men were administrative staff with the Uruzgan office of Save the Children.

Dost Mohammad Nayab, spokesman for the governor of Uruzgan, said the five were abducted around 40 days ago and that the government refused their captors’ demands for a prisoner exchange.

He said the aid workers’ bodies were found Friday, and that they had been shot dead. He did not say who captured them.

Insurgents have been fighting the Kabul government since the Taliban were overthrown by a U.S.-led invasion in 2001. As the weather warms up, attacks from militants moving into Afghanistan across the mountains that border Pakistan are expected to intensify.

In the capital, Kabul, a suicide bomber in a car targeted armored vehicles, wounding two civilians, according to Farid Afzali Kabul, the head of the Kabul police’s criminal investigation unit. The Taliban claimed responsibility.