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Asia-pacific

Deadly suicide blast rips through crowded Afghan market

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-16

A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a busy market in southeastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 89 people and injuring more than 40 others, according to an Afghan military official.

The market, in the Urgun district of Paktika province, was crowded with people doing their Ramadan shopping at the time of the attack.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul, Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said 89 bodies had been recovered from the rubble of the marketplace situated next to a mosque. The dead included women and children.

The Afghan military was providing helicopters and ambulances to transport the injured to the provincial capital of Sharan, said Azimi.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide attacks are a common weapon of Taliban insurgents.

The remote northeastern province of Paktika has been particularly prone to violence since it borders the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan where the Haqqani network, one of the most ferocious Taliban groups, is believed to be based.

The attack in Paktika came as the nation is still awaiting the results of the 2014 presidential election amid fears that a potentially deadly power struggle is brewing in Kabul as US combat troops prepare for a pullout by the end of the year.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement) with the US, sparking fears of insecurity in the region.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2014-07-15

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