A suicide car bombing killed at least 13 people and injured around 120 others in Afghanistan’s western Ghor province on Sunday, officials said.
Mohammad Omer Lalzad, the head of a hospital in Ghor, said emergency staff were treating dozens of people with both serious and light injuries from the bombing. He expected the death toll to rise.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Aran said the bomber struck near the entrance of the provincial police chief’s office and other nearby government buildings in the area.
No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes amid an increase in attacks by the Taliban as representatives of the group and Afghan government officials hold their first-ever face-to-face talks in Qatar, where the Taliban have had a political office for many years. The negotiations are meant to end the country’s decades-long war.
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,” the spokesman said.
On Friday, the Taliban agreed to suspend attacks in southern Afghanistan that had displaced thousands of residents in recent days.
It came after the US vowed to halt all strikes and night raids in keeping with the peace agreement America signed with the Taliban in February.
The US had been carrying out air strikes in support of Afghan forces trying to repel Taliban assaults in Helmand province, which threatened to derail efforts to end Afghanistan’s war.