Ayesha Tanzeem – Voice of America
A car bomb attack claimed by the Taliban near a compound used by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan, left at least 15 dead and more than 90 wounded Thursday morning.
A spokesman for provincial government, Gul Islam Seyal, said most of the victims, which included women and children, were patients at a nearby hospital.
Provincial officials say Zabul Hospital, which was near the National Directorate of Security compound, was almost completely destroyed in this attack.
Civilians have faced the brunt of the violence in Afghanistan, with casualties recorded by the United Nations at a record high last year. During the first six months of 2019, the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported 1,366 civilians killed and 2,446 wounded.
This attack follows other large Taliban attacks this week, including an attack Wednesday on a national identity card center in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and two attacks Tuesday that killed almost 50 people. One of those attacks was on President Ashraf Ghani’s election rally in Parwan.
Meanwhile, officials in Nangarhar, in eastern Afghanistan, claim a drone attack Wednesday night killed at least 18 civilians and wounded multiple others on their way to a local pine forest.
Shamsulhaq Safi, the district chief of Khogyani district, said the drone hit Tangi Wazir village and all the victims were laborers.
Officials fear the death toll could rise as locals were still looking through the rubble.
Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor confirmed the attack but said it was unclear that the victims were civilians.
NATO and U.S. officials have not yet commented on the incident. Although NATO and United States forces operate drones in the area Nangarhar has also had Islamic State presence since 2014.