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Suicide bomber hits Kabul bank ahead of holiday rush, killing 5

KABUL, Afghanistan – A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up at a bank not far from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, killing five people Tuesday as government employees lined up to withdraw salaries ahead of a religious holiday.

Meanwhile, there were conflicting reports on deaths from an airstrike that sought to target a Taliban command post in western Afghanistan outside Herat. Provincial officials claimed civilians were killed, but the Afghan Defense Ministry said Taliban militants were hit by the air attack.

In the bank bombing, the Taliban said one of its suicide bombers detonated the blast at the Nawe Kabul bank, targeting security forces waiting to withdraw cash ahead the Eid al-Adha holiday, the holiest periods of the Muslim calendar.

A police official said the bomber was gunned down as he attempted to make his way inside the bank. The Interior Ministry said eight people were also wounded.

The target of the airstrike in Herat’s Shindand district was a command center of the Taliban. But local officials said civilians were also killed.

At least 13 civilians, including women and children, were killed along with 16 Taliban fighters, said Jailani Farhad, a spokesman for the governor said.

A tribal chief from Herat, Ajab Gul, said at least 21 civilians, including women and children as young as 2 years old, were killed in the village of Bakht Abad.

“They belonged to three families and there was no fighting or Taliban presence in the area at the time of the attacks,” he said. “The victims are poor farmers.”

Chief spokesman for Defense Ministry, Gen. Dawlat Waziri, confirmed that Monday’s airstrikes were carried out Afghan warplanes.

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