KABUL, Afghanistan – The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local):
An Afghan official says at least 13 civilians, including women and children, were killed in an overnight airstrike by the Afghan security forces that targeted the Taliban in western Herat province.
Gelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor, said on Tuesday that the airstrike in Shindand district also wounded seven other civilians.
He says the target of Monday night's strike was a Taliban base and a prison run by the insurgents. The prison was destroyed and 19 prisoners — both military and civilians escaped.
Farhad also said that the civilians who were killed died in their homes just next to the Taliban base.
According to the spokesman, the airstrikes also killed 16 Taliban militants. The Taliban have not commented on the attack in Herat province and Farhad's information could not be independently verified.
Afghan officials say a suicide bombing has killed at least five people in a busy commercial area in central Kabul, not far from the U.S. Embassy.
Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, says Tuesday's explosion likely targeted a branch of the privately owned Kabul Bank. The U.S. Embassy compound is located about 500 meters (yards) down the road from the Kabul Bank.
Mohammad Salim Rasouli, chief of Kabul hospitals at the Health Ministry, confirmed that the attack also wounded nine people, according to initial reports.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Taliban often target banks, especially at the end of the month when civil servants and military personnel line up to receive their salaries, or ahead of major Muslim holidays.