The Taliban appear to have strategized embarrassing new Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. As he arrived in Kabul on his first visit to Afghanistan, a suicide bomber on a bicycle detonated his payload in front of the Ministry of Defense, killing nine civilian bystanders. This was obviously a purely symbolic act, since it did no damage at all to the Ministry of Defense or the Afghanistan National Army.
A second bombing, in Khost, killed another 9 persons, including several children and a policeman.
Hagel arrives in Kabul as relations between the government of Hamid Karzai and the US are strained. Karzai has recently expelled US special forces from Wardak Province next to Kabul, on the ground that they were deploying Afghan death squads as a auxiliaries.
Afghan families are demanding an inquiry into the Wardak activities of the US special forces and their auxiliaries:
NATO denies the allegations.