A NATO air attack in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least 10 children, Afghan officials said Sunday.
The children were killed during a joint Afghan-NATO operation in the Shigal district of Kunar province which borders Pakistan late on Saturday.
“Ten children and eight militants were killed in the strike, six women were wounded,” provincial spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi told AFP.
Meanwhile, a car bomb blast killed five Americans, including three U.S. soldiers and a young diplomat, on Saturday, while an American civilian died in a separate attack in the east.
The diplomat and other Americans were in a convoy of vehicles in Zabul province when the blast occurred, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
The soldiers and the diplomat died in the blast along with a civilian employee of the Defense Department and Afghan civilians, Kerry said. His statement gave no overall death toll.
The diplomat is Anne Smedinghoff, 25 and Kerry’s embassy guide and aide when he visited Afghanistan last month.
Local and international officials in the region said earlier that six people died in the blast: three U.S. soldiers, two U.S. civilians and an Afghan doctor.
Provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery was in the convoy, but was unharmed, local and NATO officials said.
“Our American officials and their Afghan colleagues were on their way to donate books to students in a school in Qalat, the province’s capital, when they were struck by this despicable attack,” Kerry said in his statement.
He said he had met the diplomat during a trip to Kabul, and spoke to her parents after her death. Four other U.S. diplomats were wounded, one critically, Kerry said in his statement.
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.
The attacks come 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.