Afghanistan war: Deadly Taliban attack ‘destroys’ hospital

Twenty people have died after a truck packed with explosives was detonated by Taliban militants outside a hospital in southern Afghanistan.

Many of the victims in the attack in Qalat city were doctors and patients, according to local media reports.

Reports have since emerged of at least another 15 civilian deaths, this time in an air strike aimed at Islamic State militants in the east.

Last month, at least 473 civilians were killed in the conflict, the BBC found.

Civilians made up a fifth of all known casualties during the month of August, our research revealed.

A senior defence ministry official in the capital told Reuters news agency the “huge” bomb had been carried by a “mini-truck” before it was detonated near the hospital in Qalat.

It was the main health facility in Zabul province, according to reports. Governor Rahmatullah Yarmal said it had been “destroyed”.

The Taliban have said they were targeting government intelligence offices, next door to the hospital.

The final death toll from Thursday morning’s attack is still unclear. Zabul’s deputy governor said 20 were confirmed dead, with some 90 injured. People at the scene described seeing women and children pulled from the rubble.

“It was horrific,” university student Atif Baloch said, according to news agency AFP.

Ambulances have been ferrying casualties to hospital in the neighbouring province of Kandahar.

The Afghan defence ministry says an attack took place on Wednesday night in Khogyani district in Nangarhar province which was aimed at Islamic State fighters, according to Reuters news agency.

But a Nangarhar security official confirmed to the BBC that 15 civilians had been killed and six others wounded in the strike.

According to reports, those killed had been working in a pine nut field.

“The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,” tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul told Reuters.

An investigation into the incident is being carried out.



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