Bomb wounds 16 in Afghan city


Afghan security force personnel inspect vehicle wreckage at the site of a roadside bomb explosion in Jalalabad on Sunday. The remote-controlled device exploded as a vehicle passed carrying state prosecutor Abdul Qayoom. AFP PHOTO

JALALABAD: A bomb attack wounded 16 people on Sunday in an eastern Afghan city hit a day earlier by a deadly suicide blast targeting the Indian consulate, officials said.

The remote-controlled device exploded in Jalalabad as a vehicle passed carrying state prosecutor Abdul Qayoom, local government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said.

The powerful explosion in the city center wounded Qayoom, his driver and four guards and 10 civilians, Abdulzai said.

A doctor at the city’s main hospital said 16 people with bomb injuries were admitted and the condition of four, including the prosecutor, was “very serious.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which followed a deadly suicide attack on the Indian consulate in the same city on Saturday which killed nine civilians, most of them children studying the Koran in a nearby mosque.

That attack, a car bombing, remains unclaimed as the Taliban denied involvement soon afterwards.

The Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies are behind most of the bombings which have plagued life in Afghanistan since the ousting of the Islamists from power in a United States-led invasion in late 2001.

The militants often deny attacks that cause high number of civilian casualties and exaggerate attacks on military targets.

India has been a key supporter of Kabul’s post-Taliban government, and analysts have often pointed to the threat of a “proxy war” in Afghanistan between India and its arch-rival Pakistan.

New Delhi reacted to the consulate attack with thinly veiled criticism of Pakistan for failing to crack down on militants and their safe havens along its western border.

Pakistan for its part condemned the attack and expressed sympathy for the victims late Saturday, but a statement from the foreign office made no reference to the Indian consulate.

The Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based group allied with the Taliban and closely associated with the Pakistani intelligence service, was blamed for earlier attacks on Indian targets in Afghanistan.



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