KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 45 people and leaving60 people wounded, a provincial official said.
The bloodshed came just hours after Afghan MPs approved security deals allowing NATO and U.S soldiers to remain after the withdrawal of most foreign troops next month.
According to Mokhlis Afghan, spokesman for the governor of Paktika province, the bomber was mingling with the large crowd when he set off the explosives.
Casualties were high because the crowd was so dense, since people had come from nearby districts to cheer on their team, Afghan added.
In addition, a spokesman for the provincial governor told the BBC that the crowd was made up mostly of young people and said all of the casualties were civilians.
In fact, BBC’s Richard Galpin, who is in Kabul, says a doctor at the local hospital was crying as he spoke of treating many wounded children.
According to him several people had died on the journey to the hospital.
“The barbaric attack to civilians in Paktika is not acceptable. It is a massacre and terrorists are responsible for their dead,” First Vice President General Abdul Rashid Dostum said in his condemnation message on asocial networking site.
Volleyball is a popular sport in Afghanistan, played across the country, and the attacker is likely to have targeted the event to ensure maximum casualties. It is also possible that the presence of local police in the crowd made it an attractive target, as security forces are regularly attacked by insurgents foxnews reported.
For now, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack and the Taliban’s spokesman could not be reached by telephone.
Paktika, bordering Pakistan, is one of Afghanistan’s most dangerousregions, a place where Taliban and affiliated insurgent groups like the Haqqani network are waging an intensifying war against the government in Kabul.
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