Just one day after President Trump’s primetime address on the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide car bomber targeting a military convoy killed at least five people, an Afghan official said.
Wednesday’s attack in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, also left 38 people injured, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid made the claim of Taliban responsibility via his Twitter account.
Trump, who called for a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan while campaigning for president in 2016, changed his stance after consulting with generals and his Cabinet, and now believes a “hasty withdrawal” from the 16-year-long war “would create a vacuum for terrorists.”
“The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable,” Trump said Monday at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.
Among those killed Wednesday was a small girl and two soldiers, said Zwak, who added that the death toll could rise. He said the attack happened near police headquarters.
Local TV footage showed the attack destroyed several military Humvees, which are used by the Afghan army.
Trump said U.S. plans for eradicating terrorism overseas no longer include announcing military tactics in advance, or the number of troops to be deployed – although Fox News reported Monday that the U.S. would send 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan.
“America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will,” the president said.
Although the U.S. mission in Afghanistan won’t be ending soon, Trump added that the U.S. commitment “is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check.”
Trump also said the U.S. military presence will be based on “conditions on the ground -- not arbitrary timetables,” and include placing pressure on Pakistan to help aid in the battle against terrorism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.