Afghanistan: Suicide bomber kills 32 in attack on protesters

A suicide attack on protesters and a bomb blast in front of a girl’s school in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 33 people on Tuesday as a recent wave of attacks across the country continued.

A suicide bomber targeted a group of men demanding the dismissal of a local police commander in Nangarhar province’s Achin district, Ataullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, told Al Jazeera. 

Thirty-two people died and at least 130 people were wounded in the blast.

“All people killed were civilians in the attack,” Khogyani said, adding a number of wounded were in critical condition.

Local media reported hundreds of protesters from Achin district gathered in Mohmand Dara district near the Jalalabad-Torkham highway when the bomber detonated explosives. The reason for the demonstration against the police chief wasn’t immediately clear.

Bombing schools

The deadly suicide attack came hours after multiple bombings targeted schools in Nangarhar’s capital, Jalalabad.

One blast went off at the entrance of Malika Omaira girls’ school in the morning, killing a 14-year-old boy and wounding four other people. It was followed by two explosions in Behsud district, also near two schools.

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the suicide attack among the protesters as well as the school bombings in Nangarhar.

The Taliban denied any involvement in the attacks and no other group claimed responsibility for the violence.

Nangarhar has been a main stronghold of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters since early 2015.

Attacks continue

A number of attacks across Afghanistan in recent weeks has killed hundreds of civilians and prominent journalists.

Twin bombings at a sports club in the capital Kabul last Wednesday killed at least 20 people and wounded 70 others. Two journalists – a reporter and cameraman – working for local Tolo News were among the dead.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives close to a procession commemorating the death of a former anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander, Ahmed Shah Massoud, killing at least seven people and wounding 24.

A ceasefire in June between the Taliban and the government – as well as talks between US officials and Taliban representatives in Qatar in July – raised hopes the 17-year conflict could end with negotiations, but the country has seen a rise in deadly attacks that have targeted civilians.

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