Car bomb attack in Afghan city kills at least 10: Officials

A car bomb blast happened at the entrance gate to the sports stadium in the first Police District of Lashkar Gah city.

Published: 23rd March 2018 09:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd March 2018 10:39 PM   |  A+A-


KABUL: A car bomb exploded outside a sports stadium in southern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens more, officials said, capping a bloody week in the war-torn country.

The blast happened in Lashkar Gah as spectators were leaving a wrestling match at the stadium, Helmand provincial governor spokesman Omar Zwak told AFP. 

Helmand police spokesman Salam Afghan told AFP that at least 10 people had been killed and 35 others wounded in the attack.

But Zwak put the death toll even higher at 13 dead and 45 wounded, including children.

"The suicide bomber detonated his car bomb as spectators were leaving the stadium," Zwak said.

The police spokesman confirmed the blast was caused by a car bomb.   

Afghan officials often give conflicting tolls in the wake of attacks.

Photos posted on Twitter purportedly of the explosion showed a huge fire and a thick plume of black smoke rising into the sky. 

The Italian NGO Emergency said four dead and 35 wounded had been taken to its hospital in the city.

"We heard a loud explosion from our surgical centre in the city," Emergency tweeted.

"35 wounded already taken to our hospital, another 4 were dead on arrival."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. 

Agha Mohammad, a 25-year-old shopkeeper from Lashkar Gah, was among the spectators leaving the match when the blast happened.

"Four of my family members were martyred and three others were wounded," a sobbing Mohammad told AFP at the Emergency hospital.

Helmand is mostly controlled by the Taliban, which is under growing pressure to take up the Afghan government's offer of peace talks. 

Witnesses said the wrestling match had been held as part of celebrations for Nawrooz, the Persian new year holiday that some fundamentalist Muslims consider un-Islamic. 

The attack caps a bloody few days in war-torn Afghanistan.

In Kabul on Wednesday a suicide bomber blew himself up among a crowd of people celebrating Nawrooz, killing dozens of people, many of them teenagers.

The Islamic State group's local franchise in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the assault in the heavily Shiite neighbourhood -- the fifth suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in recent weeks -- via the messaging app Telegram.

The blast killed 33 and wounded 65, the health ministry said, up from an earlier toll given by the interior ministry of 26 dead and 18 hurt. 

All the injured were civilians, said interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi.

Taliban and IS militants have ramped up attacks across the country in recent weeks even before the official start of the spring fighting season.


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