Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

Car bomb targeting Afghan police kills at least 13

The attack took place in the western province of Ghor, where there has been less violence than other regions of the country

Smoke rises from the site of a car bombing on an Afghan police headquarters in Feroz Kho, the capital of Ghor province. AFP
Smoke rises from the site of a car bombing on an Afghan police headquarters in Feroz Kho, the capital of Ghor province. AFP

A car bombing at the police headquarters in the western Afghan province of Ghor killed at least 13 people and wounded about 120 others on Sunday.

The attack took place in Feroz Koh, the capital of the province, where there has been less violence than other regions of the country.

The head of a hospital in Ghor, Mohammad Omer Lalzad, said emergency staff were treating dozens of people with both serious and light injuries from the bombing. He expected the death toll to rise.

Juma Gul Yakoobi, a health official in Ghor, said victims included members of the security forces.

The Ministry of Interior said the car bomb detonated near the entrance of the provincial police chief's office and other nearby government buildings in the area at about 11am local time.

"The explosion was very powerful," said Aref Abir, spokesman for the Ghor governor.

He said the sound of the blast could heard across the capital city.

“It damaged and partially destroyed a few government buildings, including the police chief's office, the women's affairs department and the provincial office for refugees,” Mr Abir said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes amid an increase in attacks by the Taliban insurgents as representatives of the group and Afghan government officials hold their first-ever face-to-face talks in Qatar, where the Taliban have had a political office for many years. The negotiations are meant to end decades of war in Afghanistan.

On Friday, the Taliban agreed to suspend attacks in the southern province of Helmand, which displaced thousands of residents last week, in exchange for the US halting all air strikes and night raids in keeping with the peace agreement the US signed with the Taliban in February.

The US had been conducting air strikes in support of Afghan forces trying to repel Taliban assaults in Helmand province.

The peace talks in Qatar began in September, but appear to be stalled as the Taliban and government have struggled to establish a basic framework for negotiations.

While successful negotiations are seen as critical to ending the fighting, the withdrawal of American troops relies on the Taliban honouring their commitments from the February accord to not support terror groups and fight all militants, most specifically the region’s ISIS affiliate.

Updated: October 18, 2020 06:16 PM

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