A car bomb exploded in an Afghan city south of the capital on Friday, killing at least 21 people and injuring nearly 100. President Ashraf Ghani blamed the Taliban for the attack.
The blast happened as people were breaking their Ramadan fast in a residential area of Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province, and it happened on the eve of the US military’s formal withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told reporters that the blast killed 21 people and injured 91 others, updating an earlier toll.
Hasibullah Stanikzai, the head of Logar’s provincial council, said the car bomb targeted a guesthouse in the city where dozens of people were staying, including university students.
According to Arian, the explosion caused extensive damage in the region, including to a hospital and homes.
“The roofs of houses have collapsed and people are trapped under the debris,” he said, adding the toll might change. “The security forces are trying to rescue those trapped.”
https://645c49c3f5679e7943c731f18fa6c508.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html Later, he said that three people had been rescued from under the rubble.
University students who were in the guesthouse to take tests, as well as doctors and patients from the hospital that was destroyed by the explosion, were among the victims, according to Arian.
The wounded were taken to Kabul for care, according to officials.
The wounded had to be taken to Kabul, according to Samat Gul, the head of Logar’s health department, because the blast destroyed the main city hospital and its ambulances, as well as injuring some doctors.
He said that Kabul had dispatched ambulances to transport the wounded to the capital.
Ghani blamed the assault on the Taliban.
“The Taliban have once again shown that they are not only unwilling to resolve the current crisis peacefully and fundamentally but are complicating the situation and wasting the opportunity for peace,” the Afghan president said in a statement.
The Taliban did not respond immediately.
The blast occurs just one day before the US military starts to withdraw its remaining troops from the war-torn region.
All American troops will leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, according to US President Joe Biden.
Fighting has continued unabated across several provinces as the US military withdraws its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan.
As global diplomatic attempts to broker a peace settlement between the warring parties have so far failed, violence on the ground has risen.
Both the Taliban and government forces have engaged in near-daily fighting, with both sides suffering heavy losses.
In recent months, a large number of civilians have been killed in the battle, including many in targeted assassinations in Kabul and other cities.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN