KABUL, Afghanistan – A U.S. soldier was killed Tuesday when a bomb exploded near a troop patrol in volatile eastern Afghanistan, while President Hamid Karzai said he expects terror attacks to continue in his country “for much more time to come.”
The attack occurred a day after suicide bombers rammed cars filled with explosives into NATO peacekeepers in two attacks in the Afghan capital – the first major assault on foreign troops in Kabul in more than a year. The death toll rose to nine Tuesday as police found more bodies in a ditch and a wounded man died.
Police blamed al-Qaida for the suicide bombings. Such seemingly coordinated attacks are unprecedented in Afghanistan and reinforced fears that Osama bin Laden’s terror network has teamed up with its old ally the Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attacks.
In Tuesday’s violence, U.S. and Afghan troops were traveling in an armored vehicle in Paktika province near the Pakistani border when the roadside bomb exploded, killing an American soldier. The blast also wounded another U.S. soldier, two Afghan soldiers and a civilian, the military said.
This year has been the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the Taliban was ousted in 2001. At least 87 U.S. military personnel have been killed or died in accidents. Nearly 1,500 Afghan civilians, security forces and rebels also have died.
Militants also fired two rockets into Kabul late Tuesday, landing one about half a mile from the headquarters of NATO peacekeepers, said Lt. Col. Cristoni Riccar, a spokesman for the force. No casualties were reported.
Karzai said he expects the violence to continue.
“Terrorism will remain to affect us, will remain to attack us, for much more time to come,” Karzai told reporters. “What is important for us right now is to continue to … strengthen democratic institutions.”