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20 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 September, 2019 12:10:03 AM
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Taliban car bomb flattens hospital as Afghan violence surges

AFP, Kabul
Taliban car bomb
flattens hospital as Afghan violence surges
A car bomb attack targeting an intelligence services building in the southern Afghan city of Qalat yesterday left at least 20 people dead. AFP Photo

War-weary Afghanistan was hit with its third straight day of bloody carnage yesterday, as a Taliban car bomb flattened a hospital and killed 20 people in the south, while nine others died in a drone strike in the east. The surge in violence, with civilians paying the heaviest price, has come after US President Donald Trump called off talks with the Taliban that could have seen Washington begin withdrawing troops, and as the country gears up for a presidential election.

The insurgents responded to Trump's declaration that the talks were "dead" earlier this month by promising to continue fighting, and have vowed to target the September 28 polls, Afghanistan's fourth presidential election since the hardline Islamist group was ousted from power in 2001.

Thursday's bloodshed began near dawn, when the Taliban killed at least 20 people and wounded 90 after a car bomb destroyed a hospital in the southern Afghan city of Qalat.

Hours later, reports emerged of an overnight drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province said to have killed at least nine civilians who had been camping in the mountainous region as they collected pine nuts.

The US is the only member of the international coalition in Afghanistan that provides air support in the conflict, but there was no immediate statement from its forces in Afghanistan, the United Nations or NATO.

The strike came just hours after four people were killed on Wednesday when unknown gunmen and a suicide bomber stormed a government building in nearby Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province. On Tuesday, the Taliban killed nearly

50 people in two separate attacks — one on a campaign rally for President Ashraf Ghani in the central province of Parwan, and the other in Kabul.

Ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the nearly 18-year conflict, with more civilians killed in the Afghan war in 2018 than during any other year on record, according to the UN.

An increase in air strikes by US and Afghan forces also led to more civilian deaths in 2018, with over 500 killed by aerial operations for the first time on record.

Residents near the blast, which was claimed by the Taliban, said the explosion rattled homes and shattered windows and was followed by gunfire.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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