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Dozens dead in fresh attacks in Afghanistan - officials

  • 22 May 2018

A blast in Kandahar and attacks by Taliban militants in the eastern Ghazni province have killed dozens of people in the latest wave of violence in Afghanistan, officials say.

Taliban fighters stormed several checkpoints in Dih Yak and Jaghatu, setting off intense battles there, said Latifa Akbari, the head of the provincial council in Ghazni. ( Reuters )

A blast in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Tuesday caused dozens of casualties, officials said, as fighting across the country showed no sign of easing off during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

There was some confusion about the cause of the Kandahar explosion, which sent a huge cloud of dust and smoke into the air. 

Officials initially said it was caused by a bomb packed into a minibus but later said the explosives were in two containers stored in an area of mechanics workshops.

Nematullah Barak, a head of the Mirwais hospital in Kandahar, said 16 dead and 38 wounded, including several children, had been brought in but the final total could be higher as ambulances were still at the scene.

The NDS intelligence service said in a statement that the explosives were discovered in a large open yard of workshops but went off before they could be defused.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Ghazni attacks

The Taliban launched a wave of attacks in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni, killing at least 14 police officers, including a district police chief and a reserve unit's commander, Afghan officials said on Tuesday.

Provincial council member Hassan Reza Yusoufi said seven of the officers were killed in the district of Dih Yak, including Faizullah Toofan, the police chief, and reserve commander Haji Baraket. Another seven were killed in Jaghatu district.

The attacks started on Monday night and continued on Tuesday in Dih Yak, Jaghatu, Ajristan and Qarabagh districts, according to Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Noori said at least 12 other members of the security forces were wounded in the attacks in Dih Yak and Jaghatu districts.

Taliban fighters stormed several checkpoints in Dih Yak and Jaghatu, setting off intense battles there, said Latifa Akbari, the head of the provincial council in Ghazni.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement to the media. 

He claimed the Jaghatu district headquarters was captured as well as several police checkpoints in Dih Yak.

The Taliban also issued a statement warning residents of the capital, Kabul, to avoid military and intelligence centres as they planned to target those as part of their spring offensive.

Since announcing their offensive last month, Taliban insurgents have stepped up attacks across the country against Afghan security forces and government officials. 

In the announcement, they said the offensive is aimed at crushing, killing and capturing American invaders and their supporters.

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