Sun 29 November 2020:
At least 34 people have been killed in two separate suicide bombings that targeted a military base and a provincial chief.
In eastern Ghazni province, 31 soldiers were killed and 24 others wounded on Sunday when an attacker drove a military vehicle full of explosives onto an army commando base before detonating it, according to an official in Afghanistan’s national security council, who spoke anonymously because he was not permitted to speak directly to the media.
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Ghazni’s provincial health department chief, Zahir Shah Nikmal, also confirmed the death toll and casualty figures from the attack.
Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry released a statement claiming 10 soldiers were killed and nine wounded. The ministry also offered a different account of what happened than the official at the National Security Council, saying the vehicle exploded near the army base after security forces opened fire on the car.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, when contacted by Reuters news agency, did not confirm or deny responsibility.
Afghanistan has seen a spate of car bombings over the last few months, despite peace talks currently under way between the Kabul government and the Taliban in Qatar.
This is the first time the two sides hold face-to-face talks to try to end the country’s decades-long war.
The soldiers stationed at the base were responsible for conducting night raids, providing support to the army and police forces under siege, and taking part in large-scale operations against the Taliban and ISIS group in eastern and southern provinces of Afghanistan.
In southern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber targeted the convoy of provincial council chief Attajan Haqbayat in Zubal, killing at least three people and wounding 12 others, including children.
Haqbayat survived the Sunday attack with minor injuries, though one of his bodyguards was among those killed, said provincial police spokesman Hikmatullah Kochai.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility.
Attacks have killed more than 50 people in the capital Kabul in recent weeks, including two assaults on educational centres and a rocket attack.
The US has been pressing in recent weeks for a reduction in violence, while the Afghan government has been demanding a ceasefire. The Taliban have refused, saying a ceasefire will be part of negotiations, although the group have held to their promise not to attack US and NATO troops.
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