SIX Americans – three soldiers and three civilians – and an Afghan doctor were killed yesterday in attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan.
The killings occurred as the top US military figure, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Kabul on a fact-finding mission.
Three US soldiers and two civilians – one a US state department employee – and a doctor died when a suicide bomber detonated a car full of explosives just as a coalition convoy drove past a motorcade carrying the governor of Zabul province in the south of the country.
Another US civilian was killed in an attack in eastern Afghanistan.
Dempsey is in Afghanistan to assess the level of training US troops can give Afghan security forces after international combat forces complete their withdrawal at the end of next year.
Several other Americans and Afghans, possibly as many as nine, were wounded in the Zabul incident, a US official said.
The US embassy in Kabul confirmed that Americans were involved in an attack in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province. Zabul is next to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taleban, and shares a volatile border with Pakistan.
“There are American and Afghan casualties. We are still investigating the incident and cannot confirm details at this time,” the embassy said.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.
The deaths bring the number of foreign military forces killed this year to 30. A total of six foreign civilians have died in Afghanistan so far this year, according to media sources.
It was unclear if the car bomber was targeting the coalition convoy or that of provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, who was driving to an event at a nearby school in Qalat. The explosion occurred in front of a hospital.
Nasery, who survived the attack, said the car bomb exploded as his motorcade was passing the hospital. He said a doctor was killed, and two of his bodyguards and a student from the school were wounded.
The coalition convoy was leaving a base which is home to a provincial reconstruction team, or PRT, officials said.