5 killed in attacks across Afghanistan

Suicide blast strikes European Union vehicle outside Kabul, killing 2 Afghan civilians

Five Afghan civilians were killed in attacks across the country Monday, including a Taliban suicide bombing of a European Union vehicle that created a massive blast heard across Kabul.

The bombing along the road leading from the capital to the eastern city of Jalalabad targeted a vehicle belonging to the European Union police training mission, officials said. Afghan interior ministry officials said two civilians were killed and 11 people were injured, including three members of the Afghan national police.

The European force, known as EUPOL, said in a statement that no one in the vehicle was harmed, although Afghan interior ministry officials said two European personnel suffered “slight” injuries.

The blast underscored the dangers facing civilians and foreign personnel remaining in Afghanistan under a smaller, U.S.-led training mission that officially began Jan. 1.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it had destroyed a “U.S. vehicle” and “killed five foreign invaders.” The insurgent group is known to exaggerate casualty figures from its attacks.

Two civilians also were killed in the southern province of Zabul when a bomb went off in a local market, officials said.

Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Lewanai, the provincial police chief, said the explosive was detonated after the deputy police chief’s vehicle passed by the market in the city of Qalat around 10 a.m. The deputy police chief escaped unhurt but nine others, including three police, were injured, he said.

In the eastern province of Kunar, a woman was killed after she stepped on an improvised explosive device in the early morning in the district of Dangam. A provincial spokesman told local media the bomb was meant for Afghan security forces, who have been fighting a weeks-long battle against insurgents in the northeastern district.

Monday’s attacks come only days after the official end of the NATO combat mission and the start of a new, smaller mission dubbed “Resolute Support,” which includes 10,800 U.S. troops.

Civilian casualties have been rising in Afghanistan, with the United Nations reporting last month that 3,188 people were injured from January through November, a 19% increase from the same period in 2013.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

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