At least 10 people were killed while 90 others were injured on Thursday after a car bomb targeting an intelligence services building exploded and destroyed a nearby hospital in the southern Afghan city of Qalat.
The blast in Zabul was just the latest in a series of deadly Taliban bombings across Afghanistan this week as violence intensifies after US President Donald Trump abruptly ended talks with the insurgents over an American withdrawal from the country.
“This morning a car bomb targeted the NDS (National Directorate of Security) in Qalat of Zabul. The regional hospital of Zabul was also located there and has been destroyed,” said governor Rahmatullah Yarmal.
Atta Jan Haqbayan, the head of Zabul’s provincial council, gave a higher death toll, saying 20 people had been killed in the attack and another 90 wounded.
The bombing was later claimed by a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who said the attack was against the National Directorate of Security and had killed intelligence officers.
Residents near the blast said the explosion rattled homes and shattered windows and was followed by gunfire around 6 am local time.
“It was horrific,” said university student Atif Baloch, who saw women and children being dragged away from the scene by rescuers.
“I cannot remember a deadly attack like this in my area.”
Panic also spread among residents searching for family members who were being treated at the hospital.
“I rushed to the scene and I am looking for them and cannot find them. My family members are missing. I don’t know what to do,” shopkeeper Muqim Ahmad told AFP, saying his wife and mother were inside the facility at the time of the blast.