10 killed in Afghan suicide blast10/04/2012 - 10:02:47
At least 10 people were killed and more than 20 others injured in a suicide bomb attack outside a government office in western Afghanistan during rush-hour today, authorities said.
Two men and a woman wearing a burka were found dead inside a four-wheel-drive vehicle which exploded at the gate of a district headquarters building in Herat province as people waited to go inside to see government officials about various business matters.
Initial reports said only one suicide bomber was inside the vehicle and officials could not say which of the three occupants detonated the explosives.
Raouf Ahmedi, a spokesman for the police commander of the western region of Afghanistan, said officers in the area had received a tip-off that the black 4x4 vehicle was loaded with explosives.
“They were chasing the car and tried to stop it,” he said. “The vehicle then turned toward the district headquarters building and tried to pass the checkpoint, but police stopped them to be searched and asked where they were going.”
Moments later the vehicle exploded, causing a loud boom that could be heard a few miles away.
“The explosion was so strong – there are casualties among police and civilians,” said Nasar Ahmad Popul, the chief of the province’s Guzara district who was inside the headquarters at the time of the blast.
Mr Ahmedi said 10 people were killed – three policemen who were guarding the district building and seven civilians.
Twenty-seven others were injured, including children, he said.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said 11 people were killed and 22 wounded. Different casualty tolls are common in the immediate aftermath of big bombings.
Barriers at the blast site were blackened and investigators examined charred remains of what was left of the vehicle.
Several of the casualties were loaded into the back of police pick-up trucks and taken to hospital. Rescue workers wrapped the dead in white sheets and carried them from the site.
Herat province, as well as most of western Afghanistan, is relatively calm as insurgents have concentrated their attacks in the country’s south and east. The responsibility for nearly all of the province has been transferred, or is in the process of being transferred, from Nato troops to Afghan forces.
Today’s attack happened between Herat city, the provincial capital, and the main airport in the area, which is located in Guzara district.
Meanwhile, eight Afghan policemen were killed in a suicide attack on a district police headquarters in the country’s south.
Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman in the southern Helmand province, said the officers were killed when three suicide bombers tried to enter the police office in Musa Qala district.
The police spotted the attackers, who were on foot. They killed one but the other two blew themselves up.
Mr Ahmadi said eight policemen died in the blast and several others, including the district police commander, were wounded.
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