Kandahar: A Taliban truck bomber detonated around a tonne of explosives outside a government complex in southern Afghanistan on Monday, wounding at least 40 people as the summer fighting season sends civilian casualties surging.
Women and children were among those injured in the attack at the gate of the complex in Zabul province, which includes several government buildings including the provincial council.
The attack comes as the Taliban step up attacks on government and foreign targets despite Kabul´s repeated overtures to the insurgent group to reopen peace negotiations.
“Around 40 people were wounded in the suicide attack on the complex” in the provincial capital Qalat, local police chief Mirwais Noorzai told AFP.
“Around 1,000 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack,” he added.
Deputy police chief Ghulam Jailani Farahi confirmed the casualties, adding that the wounded were all civilians and some were in critical condition.
But provincial council chief Atta Jan Haqbayan gave a higher toll, saying 67 people were wounded, including 17 women.
The Taliban, waging a 13-year war against the US-backed Afghan government, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“As part of the Azm operation, this afternoon a martyrdom seeker… conducted an attack on the provincial council, where cruel and unjust decisions against Muslims and Islam were being taken,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said in a statement.
The Afghan Taliban launched their annual spring-summer offensive — titled ´Azm´ (Determination) — in late April, vowing nationwide attacks in what is expected to be the bloodiest fighting season in a decade
The insurgents have launched a series of attacks in the capital and around the country as NATO forces pull back from the frontlines.
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