Police tried to stop a car they had been tipped was full of explosives, but as they tried the car blew up, destroying buildings and burying people under rubble.
(AP) A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 89 people in the deadliest insurgent attack on civilians since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. (July 15)
Afghanistan car bomb kills 89 or more in remote area
An Afghan government official says that at least 89 people were killed and more than 40 were wounded Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in the eastern part of the country.
Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi told the Associated Press that the military is providing helicopters and ambulances to transport the victims to the provincial capital, Sharan. So far 42 people wounded in the explosion have been moved to hospitals there, Azimi said.
The explosion destroyed more than 20 shops and dozens of vehicles, he added.
Mohammad Reza Kharoti, an administration chief, said all the casualties were civilians. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
“It was a very brutal suicide attack against poor civilians,” he said. “There was no military base nearby.”
The bombing was the first major attack since a weekend deal between the two Afghan presidential contenders brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry averted a dangerous rift in the country’s troubled democracy.
The attack comes at an uneasy time in Afghanistan as the country recounts votes from a disputed presidential election which the Taliban have vowed to disrupt.
But the Taliban distanced themselves from Tuesday’s attack. The movement’s leaders have ordered militants not to target civilians.
“The truth behind this attack will become clear after an investigation, but we clearly announce that it was not done by the Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement.
“The Mujahedeen do not conduct such attacks and such attacks do not bring any benefit to them.”
A local deputy police chief, Nissar Ahmad Abdulrahimzai, told Reuters that police had been tipped about the car and were chasing it when it exploded.
Afghanistan Car Bomb Kills 89 Or More In Remote Area