Evening Express

Suicide bomber kills 32 during protest against Afghan police commander

A suicide bomber has detonated his explosives-filled vest among a group of people protesting against a local police commander in eastern Afghanistan, killing 32 and wounding about 130, officials said.

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said all 32 people killed in the attack were innocent civilians gathered for a protest. A number of wounded people are in critical condition, he said.

“Around 400 people gathered for the protest and the bomber detonated his vest full of explosive among the crowd,” said Captain Qais Saifi, an official at Nangarhar province police headquarters.

General Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai, police chief of Nangarhar province, said people from Achin district had gone to Momandara district to block the main highway between the capital Jalalabad and the Torkham border with Pakistan.

Rescuers take away victims of the suicide bombing (Mohammad Anwar Danishyar/AP)

He said locals had gathered to complain about a local police commander and the suicide bomber targeted them. It was unclear whether the attacker knew the nature of the protest.

Also in Nangarhar, at least one person was killed and four wounded in a series of bomb blasts near schools, said Mr Khogyani.

He said the first bomb detonated near a school in the provincial capital Jalalabad. That blast was followed by two others in Behsud district, also near schools.

A 14-year-old student was killed and four wounded in the first attack, he said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the suicide attack against the demonstrators as well as the bomb blasts near schools.

A statement released by his office quoted him as saying that “attacks on civilian facilities, mosques, women, children, are all crimes against humanity”.

Taliban insurgents posted a statement on their website denying involvement in the attack.

No any other group immediately claimed any of the attacks, but Taliban insurgents and the Islamic State group are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar province.