(Reuters) – Two Taliban suicide bombers carried out separate attacks on Afghan army vehicles in Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 15, the government said, a day after Afghanistan signed security deals with NATO and the United States.
The agreements will allow foreign troops to stay in the country after the end of the year, filling a campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani.
“An Afghan army bus and another car carrying Afghan army personnel were targeted by two suicide bombings,” deputy interior minister General Ayoub Salanghi said in a statement.
The militant Islamist group also criticized Ghani and his government for allowing foreign troops to stay after the year ends, calling it a “stooge regime” that was disregarding Afghanistan’s long-term interests.
“The signatories of this pact and its backers shall all be forever ingrained as foreign slaves in the history books and memories of the Afghans,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
The agreements will allow a contingent of 12,000 foreign troops to stay in Afghanistan, mostly to continue training the Afghan national security force. It will, however, include a small U.S. force of 1,800 personnel who will work on counter-terrorism missions.
Afghan officials hope that the security deals will boost morale among the country’s security forces and restore confidence in the economy, which has been battered by the drawdown of troops and fear of a full U.S. military withdrawal.
The attack in the west of the city, close to Kabul university, was the more serious of the two. It destroyed the army bus and shattered shop windows. At least seven were killed, the defense ministry said.
“I was walking down the road when a huge explosion occurred. Right after the blast, I saw dust and smoke rising from the area and then I escaped,” said shopkeeper Sanaullah Khan.