The death toll in a suicide and gun attack on police in southeast Afghanistan has risen to 32 with more than 200 wounded, an official said, in the latest deadly violence to hit the country.
The victims include “women, students and police”, Hedayatullah Hamidi, public health director in Gardez, the capital of Paktia province, told AFP.
According to ToloNews, security officials have confirmed that Toryalai Abdyani, the police chief for Paktia province, has also been killed in Tuesday morning's deadly suicide bombing in Gardez City.
The attack ended at 1:30pm, ToloNews said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility in a tweet for the attack in the centre in Gardez, capital of Paktia province which borders Pakistan.
“At first, a suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives near the training centre, making way for a number of attackers to start their assault,” the Afghan interior ministry said in a statement.
A local official said two car bombs blew up near the compound that also houses the provincial headquarters of the national police, border police and Afghan National Army.
Photos posted on Twitter purportedly show two large plumes of smoke rising above the city, suggesting two bombs were detonated in the assault.
Paktia borders Pakistan's tribal areas where the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network has a presence.
The extremist group has been blamed for carrying out spectacular attacks across Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001 and is known for its frequent use of suicide bombers.
It was blamed for the truck bomb deep in the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul in May that killed around 150 people.
The Haqqanis have also been accused of assassinating top Afghan officials and holding kidnapped Westerners for ransom.
That includes recently released Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, and their three children — all born in captivity — as well as US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was released in 2014.
The latest attacks comes as four-way talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China reportedly are being held in Oman with the aim of ending the Taliban's 16-year insurgency.
Army chief condemns attack in Paktia
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the terrorist attack in Paktia that claimed at least 32 lives, the military’s media wing said.
Gen Bajwa expressed grief on the loss of lives and injuries, read the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
"Afghans are our brave brothers fighting against terrorism with great resolve," Bajwa was quoted as saying.
"Through coordination and cooperation both countries shall defeat the common enemy for enduring peace and stability in the region," the ISPR said.