'21 killed, several injured' in Afghanistan's Kandahar suicide bombing '21 killed, several injured' in Afghanistan's Kandahar suicide bombing

’21 killed, several injured’ in Afghanistan’s Kandahar suicide bombing

Afghan men take pictures of a vehicle from which rockets were fired, as Taliban forces stand guard, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 30, 2021. — Reuters/File

At least 21 people were killed and several others injured in a suicide blast outside a bank in Afghanistan’s Kandahar city on Thursday, BBC quoted a doctor at the regional hospital as saying.

However, local police put the death toll at three and the number of injured at 12.

The blast mostly killed civilians who had gathered in front of the bank to withdraw cash, the Kandahar police department said in a statement.

“A suicide attack occurred in which three compatriots were killed and 12 others were wounded,” he told AFP.

“Commonly our compatriots gather there to collect their salaries,” he said, adding that the “victims were civilians”.

The dead and about 50 injured people were shifted to Mirwais hospital, the region’s largest, a doctor from the hospital told BBC on the condition of anonymity.

Afghanistan’s capital is Kabul but Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada lives in Kandahar city, in the southern province of the same name that is the birthplace of the Taliban movement.

Taliban authorities had surrounded the area outside the bank and did not let journalists close to the site.

However, an AFP journalist saw what appeared to be unconscious people or dead bodies being loaded into ambulances in the wake of the blast.

Firefighters and security personnel were clearing the area, where blood, scraps of clothes and shoes littered the ground.

Hospitals did not respond to requests for information, saying they had been told not to speak to the media.

The number of bomb blasts and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has markedly declined since the Taliban ended their insurgency after seizing power in August 2021, ousting the US-backed government.

However, a number of armed groups — including the regional chapter of Daesh — remain a threat.

Multiple explosions have been reported around Afghanistan since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 11, but few have been confirmed by Taliban officials.

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