KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai is condemning two suicide attacks that killed at least 19 people today.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack outside the Defense Ministry in Kabul, calling it a message to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Hagel is making his first visit to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief.
Karzai's office says nine Afghan civilians were killed in that attack, while two police officers and eight children were killed in an attack in Khost.
In a statement, Karzai says: "The perpetrators of such attacks are cowards who are killing innocent children at the orders of foreigners."
Hagel was nowhere near the Kabul blast, but heard it across the city. He told reporters the Taliban should know the U.S. is going to continue to work with allies to insure the Afghan people can develop their own country and democracy.
Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.