A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at a bank not far from the U.S. embassy in Kabul, killing five people on Tuesday, as government employees lined up to withdraw salaries ahead of the holiday.
An airstrike meant for a Taliban command post north of the capital in Herat also killed at least 13 civilians, according to local officials.
The Taliban insurgent group said one of its suicide bombers blew himself up at the Nawe Kabul bank to kill security forces waiting to withdraw cash ahead the Eid al-Adha holiday, the holiest day of the Muslim calendar.
A police official said the bomber was identified and gunned down as he was attempting to make his way inside the bank. The Interior Ministry said eight people were also wounded in the attack.
The target of the airstrike in Herat’s Shindand district was a command center of the Taliban, but 13 civilians, including women and children, also lost their lives in the overnight strike, Jailani Farhad, a spokesman for the governor said.
“Sixteen Taliban were also killed, it is unclear at this stage as to who (Afghan government or U.S.-led coalition) carried out the attack,” he said.
Images of decapitated bodies of several children and two women, apparently of some of the victims, were posted on social media.
Officials at Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry had no immediate comment on the incident and the coalition could not be reached initially.
The deaths both in Kabul and in Herat are part of a recent rise and spread of violence in Afghanistan where both the Taliban and affiliates of the Islamic State are leading separate insurgencies against the government and U.S. troops backing it.
On Friday, nearly 30 Shiite worshipers were killed in a commando-style attack in a mosque in Kabul.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the strike, which according to analysts is aimed at fanning sectarian violence in the country, devastated by nearly four decades of war and foreign interventions.
Source: Washington Post