By Murray Jones
At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 wounded by a suicide car bombing in Afghanistan’s western Ghor province on Sunday [October 18th].
According to the nation’s Interior Ministry, the bomb detonated near the entrance of the provincial police chief’s office and nearby other government buildings.
The head of a hospital in Ghor, Mohammad Omer Lalzad, said they were treating dozens of injuries and he expected the death toll to rise.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes amid an uptick in such violence by the Taliban. Representatives of the group are currently holding in-person peace talks in Qatar with the Afghan and US governments.
Arif Aber, spokesman for the provincial governor in Ghor, said the blast was so strong that its sound could be heard across Feroz Koh, the capital city of the province.
“It damaged and partially destroyed a few government buildings, including the police chief’s office, the women’s affairs department and the provincial office for refugees,” Aber said.
Separately, a rocket allegedly fired by the Taliban hit a residential home in central Afghanistan, killing two women and injuring two children.
Figures by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission suggest that in the first six months of 2020, nearly 3,000 civilians were killed or injured in 880 different security incidents (1,213 killed, 1,744 injured) such as landmine blasts, aerial raids, and ground offensives between rival parties of the conflict.
This is the most harmful car bombing in Afghanistan in 2020. Between January and July this year, Action on Armed Violence recorded 113 civilian casualties from car bombs, compared to 1,409 in the 12 months of 2019.
Overall, in 2019, some 3,596 civilians were killed or injured by IEDs in Afghanistan. In the first six months of 2020, some 622 civilians were harmed.