September 19, 2019
Hospital patients caught in blast intended for intelligence officials, says defence ministry
Damaged cars are seen at the site of a suicide attack in Zabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. Photograph: Ahmad Wali Sarhadi/AP
A Taliban truck bomb has killed at least 30 people and wounded 95 others when it exploded near a hospital in southern Afghanistan, officials have said.
The Taliban, who have been carrying out near-daily attacks since peace talks with the US collapsed this month, said the target was a nearby government intelligence building in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province.
A senior defence ministry official in Kabul said the militants wanted to target a training base for the country’s powerful security agency, the National Directorate of Security, but parked the explosives-laden vehicle outside a hospital gate nearby.
Haji Atta Jan Haqbayan, a member of the provincial council in Qalat, said 20 bodies and 95 wounded had been evacuated from the blast site. “The number of casualties may rise as rescue teams and people are still searching the bodies under the rubble,” he said.
Several women, children, health workers and patients in the hospital were critically injured the blast.