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Afghan suicide blast kills 24

world Updated: Apr 19, 2008 01:45 IST

AP
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A suicide attack in front of a mosque in southwestern Afghanistan killed 24 people and wounded more than 30 others, a provincial governor has said.

The attack took place on Thursday as men were getting ready for the evening prayer at the central mosque in Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz province, governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad said. He said there may have been more than one bomber. “I’m not sure if it was single attack or a double attack,” he said, noting that a district police chief and border reserve police commander were among the dead. Most of those killed and wounded were civilians, including children and old men.

At least two other suicide attacks have hit Nimroz this month, including an attack on April 1 that left two policemen dead in Zaranj, and another on Saturday that killed two Indian road construction engineers and their Afghan driver in Khash Rod district.

Suicide attacks in Afghanistan spiked last year, with the Taliban launching more than 140 such missions — the highest number since the radical Islamist group was ousted from power by a US-led invasion in 2001.

In central Ghazni province, militants ambushed a patrol of Afghan and foreign troops on Thursday in Gilan district, and the ensuing clash left nine Taliban fighters dead, said district chief Abdul Wali Thofan. There were no casualties among the troops. A roadside bomb struck a Canadian military vehicle on Thursday near Spin Boldak, a town on the Pakistani border, said Lt Commander Pierre Babinsky, a spokesman for NATO troops in the south. No one died in the blast, but he declined to say whether any soldiers were wounded.

The insurgency has left more than 1,000 people dead so far this year, most of them militants, according to an AP tally of figures provided by Afghan and Western officials.