A car bomb attack killed six people, including three U.S. soldiers and an Afghan doctor, in southern Afghanistan on Saturday and an American civilian died in a separate attack in the east. NBC's Ron Mott reports.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- A car bomb attack killed six people, including three U.S. soldiers and an Afghan doctor, in southern Afghanistan on Saturday and an American civilian died in a separate attack in the east, local and international officials said.
The attacks came as the top U.S. general, Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in the country for a short visit to assess how much training Afghan troops need before U.S. troops pull out as planned by the end of 2014.
The American troops were traveling in a convoy of vehicles in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province, when the car bomb exploded. Provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery was unharmed but a local doctor and two foreign civilians also died, according to local and NATO officials.
The convoy was near a hospital and a NATO base at the time of the explosion. Five Afghans, including a student and two reporters, were wounded, a local official said.
In a separate attack in Afghanistan's east, an American civilian working with the U.S. government was killed during an insurgent attack, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
Zabul shares borders with Pakistan to the southeast and the birthplace of the Taliban, Kandahar province, to the south.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Zabul attack in a text message from spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi. He said a car bomb killed seven foreigners and wounded five others, though he later revised the toll to 13 foreigners killed and nine wounded.
The Taliban routinely exaggerates casualty figures.
The killings come in the wake of a bloody Taliban assault in the country's west on Wednesday that killed 44 people in a courtroom in Farah province. The United Nations says civilians are being increasingly targeted in 2013.
In a statement posted online earlier on Saturday, Taliban spokesman Ahmadi said the Taliban would continue to target Afghan judges and prosecutors.
"The Islamic Emirate, from today onwards, will keep a close watch over courthouses, all its personnel and all those who try to harm Mujahideen and will deal with them the same as the judges and prosecutors of Farah."