The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday. The attack killed 12 people, including two intelligence service agents and ten civilians.
The attack occurred in Jalalabad, the provincial capital, ABC News reports. In addition to the 12 killed, five others were wounded, according to a spokesman for the provincial governor.
Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council, said "most of the victims were children who were working at a car wash close to the suicide bombing site."
Approximately 14,000 American troops are stationed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support operation. The coalition has backed the Afgan government in its fight against IS, Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other militants. U.S. and allied-troops have primarily provided support in the way of training and advising Afghan security forces.
In 2016, Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said air strikes had mostly limited the presence of IS in Afghanistan to Nangarhar province, the location of Tuesday’s suicide bombing. Last year, U.S. officials estimated IS had about 700 fighters in Afghanistan.
The U.S. military has supported the Afghan government in recent operations against IS militants in Nangarhar province. Last month, a joint U.S.-Afghan offensive in the province trapped hundreds of IS fighters.
Despite American military efforts, IS militants have continued to launch suicide attacks in Afghanistan. Earlier this year, IS claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that targeted the predominantly Shia Hazara minority. An IS bombing last week targeted Sikhs and Hindus traveling to meet President Ashraf Ghani, killing 19 people and wounding 20.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit yesterday, his first visit to the country in his current role. Pompeo told reporters that "now, more than ever, the United States stands as an enduring partner for Afghanistan."
"Our South Asia strategy has sent a clear message to the Afghan peoples and its security services that we will support them as they continue to fight to defend their country and their people," Pompeo said.
Published under: Afghanistan , Islamic State , Terrorism