Bombing kills 17, injures dozens in Afghanistan
At least 17 people have been killed and 61 others injured in a powerful explosion that targeted a demonstration in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Khost.
Provincial police chief Faizullah Ghairat said the incident took place on Thursday morning when a bomber detonated his explosives among dozens of people who were staging a rally near the governor’s residence in the provincial capital of Khost, located about 150 kilometers south of the capital, Kabul.
The demonstrators were protesting against the corrupt and land expropriation policies of the provincial governor, Abdul Jabbar Naeemi.
The head of the Afghan parliament’s defense committee, Hamayoun Hamayoun, is reportedly among those injured in the attack.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, but the bombing reportedly bears the hallmarks of those made by Taliban militants. Afghan authorities have launched an investigation to determine the motive behind the act of violence.
Fears have recently been growing over the influence of the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group in Afghanistan, which has witnessed years of instability.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but insecurity still remains in some provinces.
The US-led combat mission in Afghanistan ended on December 31, 2014. However, at least 13,500 foreign forces, mainly from the United States, have remained in the country in what Washington calls a support mission.
NATO says the forces will focus mainly on counterterrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.