Suicide attacks in Nangarhar kill dozens of protesters and schoolchildren

Salaam Times and AFP


A wounded boy receives treatment at a hospital following multiple suicide attacks in Nangarhar September 11. [NOORULLAH SHIRZADA AFP]

JALALABAD -- A suicide attack targeting protesters Tuesday (September 11) killed at least 32 Afghans in Nangarhar Province, officials said.

The blast occurred near where demonstrators had blocked a highway in protest over the appointment of a local commander for the Afghan Local Police, according to Nangarhar provincial governor's spokesman Ataullah Khogyani.

Provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal and Khogyani both confirmed the casualty toll.

There were chaotic scenes at several hospitals as medical staff struggled to treat 128 people wounded by the powerful blast.

The attack came hours after a double bombing in front of a girls' school in Jalalabad city, which killed one boy and wounded four other Afghans.

The first explosion happened at about 8.30 am in front of Malika Omaira girls' school, Khogyani told AFP.

A second blast went off as students from a neighbouring boys' school and locals gathered at the scene, he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for any of the explosions, but the Taliban and the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) are active in Nangarhar.

ISIS, which has been militarily defeated in Iraq and Syria and relegated to inhospitable areas of Afghanistan, now regularly resorts to attacking "soft" targets, including those frequented by children.

On September 5, for instance, a regular workout session turned into a bloodbath when an ISIS suicide bomber fatally shot a young, unarmed guard at the entrance of the sports club in Kabul before blowing himself up near the scores of wrestlers, some of whom were as young as 10.

An hour later, a car packed with explosives detonated outside the club, apparently targeting first responders, reporters and emergency workers who had gathered at the scene.

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