x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bomber kills 16 people in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a busy market district today in central Afghanistan, killing at least 16 people.

KABUL // A suicide bomber blew himself up in a busy market district today in central Afghanistan, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than a dozen, provincial officials said. The attack occurred in the town of Dihrawud, in Uruzgan province, as the area was packed with shoppers and vendors gathered for the weekly bazaar. The provincial governor Asadullah Hamdan said 16 people were killed and 13 wounded in the blast. The police chief general Juma Gul Himat said those killed included three children. Several shops were destroyed. Uruzgan is a mostly Pashtun province that saw major fighting in 2007. It also was the scene of a June 2002 incident in which US aircraft mistakenly attacked a wedding party, killing more than 30 people. The attack came a day after the UN released a report showing that the number of Afghan civilians killed in war-related violence was at its highest level last year, and suicide bombings and other attacks blamed on insurgents were the leading cause of death. Another suicide bomber targeted a police patrol today in the southern town of Musa Qala, killing an Afghan national police officer and wounding four civilians, according to officials. A provincial spokesman, Daoud Ahmadi, said the bomber was on foot but Nato said the attacker was in an explosives-laden vehicle. The discrepancy couldn't immediately be reconciled. Musa Qala is in the province of Helmand, which is expected to be a major focus for Nato forces as they step up efforts to rout the Taliban. Underscoring the dangers, police also said today that four would-be suicide bombers were killed in a premature explosion the night before near the city of Kandahar. The suspects were traveling from the Panjway district to Kandahar when the blast occurred about 8pm yesterday, deputy provincial police chief Fazel Ahmad Sharzad said. He said the men were planning an attack in Kandahar but explosives in the car detonated before they reached the city. He didn't say what the target may have been. The UN report said that more than half the 2,412 civilian deaths last year were the result of suicide bombings and other attacks despite an order by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to avoid endangering noncombatants. The attacks typically target government or international forces but civilians have increasingly been caught in the middle.

* AP