KABUL: A huge car bomb blast killed at least 30 people and injured dozens more in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province on Friday evening, with high school students among the casualties, officials said.

The car packed with explosives detonated in Logar’s capital of Pul-e Alam near the house of the former head of the provincial council, Didar Lawang, the spokesman for Logar’s governor, said.

The house also operated as a guesthouse and the blast had struck just as guests were breaking their fast during the holy month of Ramazan, according to the head of Logar’s provincial council, Hasibullah Stanekzai. He said among the casualties were high school students who had been staying at the house, having travelled to the capital to sit their university entrance exam, as well as pro-government militia members who were staying there while waiting for air transport to another distinct.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast. The insurgent Taliban did not immediately respond to request for comment. Violence in Afghanistan has escalated in recent weeks after US President Joe Biden announced the US would withdraw troops by Sept 11 to end two decades of foreign military presence.

That decision angered the Taliban who had signed a deal with former US president Donald Trump that specified troops would be gone from the country by May 1 subject to certain security guarantees.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said the death toll from Friday’s blast could rise.

A provincial health official said just over 60 injured people had been taken to hospital and many students were among the victims. The European Union’s delegation to Afghanistan condemned the attack.

“In the holy month of Ramazan, horrible news on a car bomb in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, killing and injuring innocent civilians, including students....this is a tragedy for the whole country,” it said on Twitter.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021

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