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Taliban Bomber Kills 2 Americans in Southern Afghanistan

“I heard loud explosion and then saw one of the armored vehicles in flames,” said Janan Agha, who lives near the site of the attack. “Then the road was blocked and the helicopters arrived.”

As Taliban violence has worsened around the country, the 8,700 American troops who remain in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission have been trying to support Afghan security forces, which are increasingly in distress. Eight American soldiers have been killed by enemy fire so far this year. President Trump is mulling whether to send an additional few thousand troops to help the Afghan forces hold the line.

Kandahar, once the seat of Taliban power, had remained relatively quiet in recent years even as Taliban made inroads in surrounding provinces. But in recent weeks, the insurgents have intensified their attacks in the province, inflicting heavy casualties on Afghan forces.

In western Afghanistan, officials said the death toll of a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque on Tuesday had increased to 32 killed and 66 wounded. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, which happened in Herat city, according to the militant group’s information agency, Amaq.

The attack was the fifth this year against Shiite places of worship. At least 44 civilians have been killed and 88 wounded, according to the United Nations mission in Afghanistan. Four of those attacks have happened in Herat Province, which borders Iran, and one in Kabul. Two of them have been claimed by Islamic State’s regional branch.

“This attack deliberately targeting civilians at prayer can have no justification whatsoever,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the United Nations secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan. “Fanning terror and sectarian violence against a specific community is abhorrent, and those responsible must be brought to account.”

Source: NYT > World

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