Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Attackers killed five people at a police station in Herat, Afghanistan, on Saturday evening, Herat police Chief Aminullah Amarkhel told CNN.The victims were three policemen and two civilians, according to the regional hospital in Herat, in the far west of the country. Herat provincial spokesman Jelany Farhad confirmed that one of the civilians killed was a child.Four other people were wounded in the attack and brought to the hospital.There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
At least 30 workers were killed and several others injured when a gold mine in northeastern Afghanistan collapsed Sunday, local officials said.
Nek Mohammad Nazari, a spokesman for the provincial governor, told Agence France-Presse the victims were illegally searching for gold and had dug deep in a riverbed in the Kohistan district of Badakhshan province when the walls caved in.
Local villagers and the Taliban alike rely heavily on illegal mining for revenue in the region.
“The villagers have been involved in this business for decades with no government control over them,” Nazari said. “We have sent a rescue team to the area, but villagers have already started removing bodies from the site.”
The attack began in the afternoon when a suicide bomber blew up a car outside the Ministry of Public Works.
Shooting followed, with hundreds of government employees inside the building, said Interior Ministry official Nasrat Rahimi. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
The Taliban welcomed the news of President Trump’s plan to withdraw half of US troops in Afghanistan by the summer, while Afghan generals warned Friday it would be a blow to the morale of the country’s beleaguered security forces.
The announcement seemed certain to complicate efforts to reach a peace deal, mostly because it gives the Taliban leverage.
The Pentagon has been ordered to start planning a major drawdown of roughly 7,000 troops in Afghanistan, a senior defense official tells CBS News correspondent David Martin. That’s half of thestill deployed there now.
The news broke on the same day President Trump announcedJames Mattis will be leaving the administration. In an unusual letter, Mattis wrote that the president needs a defense secretary more aligned with his perspective and expressed concerns over America’s role on the international stage and its treatment of U.S. allies. The news also comes as Mr. Trump has acknowledged he intends to , a move that sparked intense backlash even from strong allies of the president.
A US airstrike in Afghanistan on Tuesday killed as many as 23 civilians, with most victims women and children, the UN says.
The strike on a compound in Helmand province was called in during a joint operation between Afghan and US forces.
Investigators said up to 10 children and eight women may have been killed. US forces say they are investigating.
Civilian casualties from aerial attacks have surged since the US announced a new Afghan strategy last year.
President Trump committed more troops to America’s longest war and significantly boosted the number of strikes targeting Taliban and Islamic State group positions in August 2017. The rules of engagement were also loosened, allowing more bombings.
A U.S. service member was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday, according to a statement from the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
Eight U.S. service members have died in combat this year in Afghanistan, the statement notes.
The name of the service member will be released at a later time, Debra Richardson, a spokesperson for Resolute Support in Afghanistan, told Reuters.
More than 2,400 U.S. forces have died in the 17-year-old war, Reuters notes. The war is America’s longest conflict.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley was shot at least once during the incident, which occurred in the country’s Kandahar province, the Pentagon confirmed on Sunday after The Washington Post first reported his identity. Two Afghan officials were assassinated, including Kandahar province’s police chief, Abdul Raziq, and the region’s intelligence chief. Kandahar’s governor was also shot, but survived.
The surprise visit is Mattis’ fourth time in the country since becoming defense secretary, and it’s part of a larger trip including stops in San Diego and India.
U.S. Army General Scott Miller assumed command of NATO forces in Afghanistan on Sunday, arriving as Washington faces growing questions over its strategy to force the Taliban into talks to end the grinding conflict.
Speaking with reporters this week, Mattis said he was hopeful about peace talks with the Taliban.
In our news wrap Wednesday, twin bombings in Afghanistan’s capital left at least 20 people dead and 70 wounded. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a training center for wrestlers, and a car bomb exploded minutes later. Also, Iran’s currency is again in free fall, hitting new record lows against the dollar.
As the war against the Islamic State terror group winds down in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. military is increasingly turning its attention to Afghanistan.
As of early May, ISIS holds only two small pockets of territory in eastern Syria, and none in Iraq.
U.S.-backed fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have since returned to eastern Syria following Turkey’s incursion into northwest Syria, drawing Kurdish fighters from the fight against ISIS. The SDF recently announced it is once again fully committed to defeating ISIS.
Air Force A-10 jets and drones were recently called to thwart a battle against the Taliban in western Afghanistan, when the city of Farah was threatened.