Death toll from Afghanistan blast rises to 68

Sergio Conner
September 13, 2018

A suicide bomber in Afghanistan killed at least 32 people on Tuesday, a local official has said.

Tuesday's attack was marked by one of the highest death tolls in attacks in Afghanistan this year.

Scores of demonstrators had blocked the highway between the provincial capital of Jalalabad and a major Pakistan border crossing in protest over the appointment of a local police chief when the suicide bomber blew himself up.

People injured in a suicide bomb attack in Momand Dara district receive medical treatment after they were brought to a hospital in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Tuesday.

The first explosion happened in front of Malika Omaira girls' school in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, at around 8:30am (4am), provincial governor spokesman Ataullah Khogyani told AFP.

It's not yet clear who is responsible for the attack.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the bombings, which came as Americans were set to mark the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in NY and Washington. The Taliban denied involvement.

A second bomb went off as students from a neighbouring boys' school and locals gathered at the scene, Khogyani added.

The escalating violence has dampened hopes of peace talks to end Afghanistan's 17-year conflict but two Taliban officials on Tuesday told Reuters the movement was preparing for another meeting with U.S. officials following one in July.

Nangarhar has been a main stronghold of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters since early 2015. "It was followed by two explosions in Behsud district, also near two schools".

In the northern province of Sar-e Pul, hundreds of armed men assembled to boost the city's defenses as security forces fought to push the Taliban back from the city center, said Zabihullah Amani, the provincial governor's spokesman.

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