KANDAHAR, Afghanistan —
The latest attacks occurred just hours after U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, landed in Afghanistan for a visit aimed at assessing the level of training that American troops can provide to Afghan security forces after international combat forces complete their withdrawal.
A U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said several other Americans and Afghans, possibly as many as nine, were wounded. The State Department said four of their staff were wounded, one critically.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack in Zabul and said the bomber was seeking to target either a coalition convoy or the governor.
“We were waiting for one of them,” Ahmadi said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It was our good luck that both appeared at the same time.”
The deaths bring the number of foreign military troops killed this year to 30, including 22 Americans. A total of six foreign civilians have died in Afghanistan so far this year, according to an AP count.
Provincial Gov. Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, who survived the attack in Qalat, said the explosion occurred in front of a hospital and a coalition base housing a provincial reconstruction team, or PRT. International civilian and military workers at the PRT train Afghan government officials and help with local development projects.
Nasery said the car bomb exploded as his convoy was passing the hospital. He said the doctor was killed, and two of his bodyguards and a student from the school were wounded.
“The governor’s convoy was at the gate of the school at the same time the (coalition) convoy came out from the PRT,” said provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Rooghlawanay. “The suicide bomber blew himself up between the two convoys.”
Nasery said he thought his convoy was the intended target.