70 killed in wave of terror in Afghanistan

Relatives of the victims of a suicide bomb blast outside a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. A Taleban suicide attacker set off a car bomb in the western part of Kabul yesterday, killing up to 35 people and wounding more than 40. At least 35
Relatives of the victims of a suicide bomb blast outside a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. A Taleban suicide attacker set off a car bomb in the western part of Kabul yesterday, killing up to 35 people and wounding more than 40. At least 35 people were also killed when the Taleban attacked a hospital in central Ghor province over the weekend.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

KABUL • Two attacks in Afghanistan have killed at least 70 people and wounded dozens in an unrelenting wave of violence that has killed more than 1,700 civilians so far this year.

A separate blast in neighbouring Pakistan yesterday killed at least 25 people in a busy vegetable market in Lahore.

In the Afghan capital, a Taleban suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the western part of the city yesterday, killing up to 35 people and wounding more than 40, government officials said.

Police cordoned off the area, located near the house of deputy government chief executive Mohammad Mohaqiq in a part of the city where many of the mainly Shi'ite Hazara community live.

A claim on Twitter by Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said 37 "intelligence workers" had been killed.

Mujahid, in a tweet claiming responsibility for the attack, said the target was two buses that had been under surveillance for two months.

At least 35 people were also killed when the Taleban attacked a hospital in central Ghor province over the weekend, a presidential spokesman said yesterday.

"When the Taleban entered the hospital, they killed 35, all civilians," spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazawi said, without specifying if they were patients or staff. "This is a cruel crime against humanity."

He did not elaborate, but unconfirmed reports on Sunday claimed that the Taleban had set the hospital alight and killed those inside.

The Taleban has denied the claim, though a spokesman said parts of the local hospital were damaged in fighting in the area.

The Taleban, which is battling the Western-backed government and a Nato-led coalition for control of Afghanistan, has launched a wave of attacks around the country in recent days, sparking fighting in more than half a dozen provinces.

At least 1,662 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan in the first half of the year.

In Lahore, officials said the cause of the market blast was not immediately clear.

"(The explosion) seems like a suicide blast targeting police, but we are still ascertaining the nature of the explosion," said the city's commissioner Abdullah Khan Sumbul.

He told Agence France-Presse that at least 25 people had been killed and 35 wounded.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan warned that the toll could rise. Most of the casualties were police officers and some bystanders, he said. "It is not yet confirmed if it is an incident of terrorism or an accidental explosion," he added.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline '70 killed in wave of terror in Afghanistan'. Print Edition | Subscribe