Car bombs in Afghanistan, Somalia

  • 23/06/2017
A car bomb has exploded outside a bank in Lashkar Gah
Emergency services in Lashkar Gah respond to the attack. Photo credit: Reuters

A car bomb has exploded outside a bank in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, killing and wounding dozens of civilians and members of the security forces waiting to collect their pay, officials say.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said at least 34 people had been killed and more than 60 wounded, including members of the police and army, civilians and staff of the New Kabul Bank branch where the attack took place on Thursday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but insurgent groups, including the Taliban, have in the past targeted banks where police, soldiers and other government employees collect their pay.

Security is worsening across Afghanistan almost three years after international troops ended their main combat mission.

Emergency workers and passers-by tried to help the injured, who were strewn among the dead. Ambulances and private cars ferried the victims to hospitals.

The blast, which also damaged nearby shops, came as Afghans were preparing to celebrate next week's Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

And in Somalia, a car bomb targeting a police station has killed at least seven people in Mogadishu. Al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab says it's behind the attack, the second this week.

A Reuters witness saw bodies lying on the ground at the Waberi police station, near Maka al Mukarama road, the busiest street in Mogadishu. Cars were ruined and the building damaged.

"We carried seven dead people and 12 others injured from the scene," Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of the Amin ambulance service, told Reuters. Major Mohamed Hussein, a police officer, had earlier given a toll of four dead.

The blast came despite thousands of security personnel, including police, intelligence and military, being assigned to secure Mogadishu earlier this month.

Reuters / Newshub.