In 2 Attacks, Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 6 in Kabul

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12afghanistan-articleLargeKABUL, Afghanistan — A teenager evaded tight security and blew himself up in the auditorium of an elite French high school in Kabul Thursday evening, killing at least one other person and wounding more than a dozen people.

It was the second suicide bombing of the day in the capital. Earlier, a young man standing at the edge of a road on the outskirts of the city detonated his explosives as a bus carrying Afghan troops passed by, killing five soldiers.

The attacks shattered a relative calm in Kabul that had lasted more than a week. Before that, suicide bombers were striking frequently in the city, targeting a British Embassy vehicle, the headquarters of a small aid organization and a prominent women’s rights leader and member of Parliament, Shukria Barakzai, among other targets. One bomber managed to infiltrate Kabul Police Headquarters last month, apparently in an attempt to assassinate the police chief.

Female students and girls’ schools have been targets of bomb attacks in the provinces, but before Thursday there had not been an attack against a school in Kabul in a long time.

The attack occurred shortly after 5 p.m. at the Lycée Esteqlal, a school founded in 1922.

Gen. Mohammad Farid Afzali, the head of the investigative division of the Kabul police, said a suicide bomber who was 16 or 17 detonated explosives in the auditorium. The police said one person, a German national, was killed; police estimates of the wounded ranged from five to 20 people. The school is near the presidential palace.

In Herat Province, in the west of the country, dozens of Taliban fighters attacked a government compound on Thursday, a striking show of force in a region where the Taliban have generally been weaker than in other parts of the country. Soldiers, police officers and Afghan special forces pushed the Taliban fighters back and kept them out of the compound, which is in Shindand district in southern Herat, according to Haji Ajab Gul, the district governor.

A local resident named Najib said in a telephone interview that the loudspeakers on mosques nearby, usually used to summon Muslims to prayer, were broadcasting warnings to stay indoors for safety.

North of Kabul, an airstrike on Wednesday afternoon killed five people in Parwan Province. The American-led military coalition said the dead were enemy combatants, but the local district governor, Mohammad Sayed Sadiqi, maintained that they were teenagers and young men who “were studying in the area and waiting to attend evening prayers.”

A spokesman for coalition forces, Col. Brian Tribus, said there would be an inquiry into “allegations that civilian casualties were caused by this strike.”

The use of airstrikes and the civilian deaths they sometimes caused were major sources of friction between the previous Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, and American military commanders and politicians. The inauguration of a new president, Ashraf Ghani, in September led to an immediate improvement in relations as the American-led combat mission draws to a close at the end of the year.

On Jan. 1, a new security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan will go into effect, resulting in a far more limited role for foreign troops. With that date approaching, the United States military handed over the last of its detainees in the country, all non-Afghans, to the Afghan government on Wednesday.

“The Defense Department no longer operates detention facilities in Afghanistan nor maintains custody of any detainees,” Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman, said in an email.

The move coincided with the release of a Senate committee report giving detailed accounts of abuse of detainees held at facilities run by the C.I.A. in several countries, including Afghanistan.

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