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Two killed in roadside blast in southern Afghanistan

The bomb disposal team of the Afghan Army 215 Corps neutralizes an IED in Sangin, Helmand. With roadside bombs the largest threat in Afghanistan, the few teams that have been trained are being relied heavily on to keep the roads safe for troops and civilians. (Al Jazeera English/Flickr)
September 22, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Two civilians have been killed in a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan, officials said on September 21.

Five people were also wounded in the September 20 attack in southern Kandahar Province, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the Spin Boldak district, but the Taliban are active in the province.

Elsewhere, two blasts rocked the capital, Kabul, late on September 20, police said, adding no casualties were reported.

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The Taliban claimed responsibility for those attacks.

Across Afghanistan, militant attacks have continued as the country prepares for presidential elections later this month, while U.S.-Taliban talks over a peace deal have collapsed.

Casualties since the talks fell apart less than two weeks ago are now at least 331, including 96 killed, according to a count from Reuters.

A Taliban truck bombing destroyed a hospital in southern Afghanistan on September 19. Afghan officials on August 20 said 39 people had died in the attack, nearly double the original figure given, with 140 wounded.

The Taliban said the target of the attack in Qalat, the capital of Zabul Province, was a nearby building housing the government’s intelligence department.

President Ashraf Ghani promised measures on September 20 to prevent civilian casualties in the war against militants, a day after at least 30 civilians were killed in a U.S. drone strike in eastern Nangarhar Province.

Ghani said he had introduced “checks and balances” to stop night raids and attacks leading to the loss of innocent lives.

He was speaking at an election rally in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province.

Ghani said he had ordered investigations into recent incidents in which the Afghan forces accidentally targeted civilians. He did not comment directly on the U.S. drone strike.

U.S. security officials in Afghanistan said the drone strike was intended to destroy a hideout used by Islamic State fighters.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, AP, and Reuters.