Deadly explosions rock Afghanistan as top US military commander visits
By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 25, 2019
KABUL, Afghanistan — Three bombs exploded in the Afghan capital Thursday morning, killing at least 11 people, in violence that coincided with a visit by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
No U.S. or coalition personnel were hurt in the separate blasts, NATO officials in Afghanistan said.
The attacks killed 11 civilians and wounded at least 45, said Interior Ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi, who added that at least one child was among the victims and that the death toll could rise.
At least eight of those killed were Mines and Petroleum Ministry employees, the ministry said in a statement. A bomb attached to a vehicle carrying the ministry workers exploded, and soon after a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up at the scene, Rahimi said.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the two blasts via its Amaq news agency.
Another suicide bomber detonated a car in eastern Kabul shortly afterward. The Taliban claimed the attack and said they were targeting foreign forces; however, NATO officials said their forces were not involved in any of the bombings.
Also on Thursday, six women and three children from the same family were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in eastern Nangarhar province, the provincial governor’s office said.
The bomb blasts occurred at a time during Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford’s visit to the capital, where he consulted with U.S., NATO and Afghan officials, the Pentagon said.
His trip comes after the Afghan government earlier this week called on the U.S. to clarify remarks made by President Donald Trump about the war in Afghanistan.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington on Monday, Trump said he had plans that would win the war, but it would cost 10 million lives and wipe Afghanistan “off the face of the Earth.” He also said he had chosen not to do that.
Washington is working toward a diplomatic solution that would allow U.S. troops to exit the conflict.
While in Kabul, Dunford met with U.S. peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, Reuters reported. The eighth round of peace negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban is expected to start within days.
Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.