KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local): 4:35 p.m. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack earlier in the day on a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan.
Qari Yusuf Ahmadi, Taliban spokesman in southern Afghanistan, claimed two armored tanks were destroyed and that 15 foreign soldiers were killed in Wednesday’s attack on the outskirts of the city of Kandahar. The insurgents, however, routinely exaggerate their gains and death tolls.
U.S. military spokesman Lt. Damien E. Horvath had earlier confirmed the attack and said that there were casualties, but he could not say how many or provide their nationalities Ahmadi identified the suicide attacker as Taliban fighter Asadullah Kandahari from southern Kandahar, saying he was a “hero” who carried out the attack with a small pick-up truck, packed with explosives.
Kandahar province was the Taliban spiritual and leadership headquarters during their five-year rule that ended in with the U.S. invasion in 2001.
An Afghan police official in Kandahar says a suicide bomber has hit a convoy of international troops on the edge of the southern city. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Kandahar police spokesman Zia Durrani said he could only confirm the attack, which took place on Wednesday, but had no more details.
U.S. military spokesman Lt. Damien E. Horvath told The Associated Press in Kabul only that they were trying to collect information but so far had no word on whether there were casualties.
The combined U.S. and NATO troop contingent currently in Afghanistan is about 13,500. The Trump administration is deciding whether to send about 4,000 or more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan in an attempt to stem Taliban gains.
Afghan authorities have tightened security ahead of a mass funeral for the victims of last night’s suicide attack at a Shiite mosque that killed 29 people.
A suicide attacker opened fire inside a mosque packed with worshippers at evening prayers, before detonating his explosives. A second explosion came 10 minutes later.
No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing in western Herat province but it came a day after the Islamic State group warned it would attack Shiites.
Provincial spokesman Jilani Farhad says that to reduce the chance for more attacks, a planned Shiite protest to denounce the attack will be held just before the burial on Wednesday afternoon, rather than at a separate time and location.
Along with the 29 killed, 64 people were wounded, 10 of them critically.