Herat, Afghanistan: Officials said that a powerful car bomb near a police station on Friday night killed at least 7 people in the Herat province of western Afghanistan and wounded more than 50 people.
Herat Governor Sayed Abdul Wahid Qatali said several women and children were among the dead.
He added that at least 53 people, including civilians and security forces, were hurt when a van packed with explosives went off in a crowded part of the city in the evening.
According to Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai, a senior health official, eight bodies, including two women, three children, two male civilians, and one member of the military, had been taken to hospitals.
Forty-seven others including, 20 women, 11 men, eight children and eight security forces members have been wounded, Sherzai said, adding that 10 injured were in critical condition.
Sherzai said that 47 other people were injured, including 20 women, 11 men, 8 children and 8 members of the security forces. The other 10 injured were in critical condition.
No one claimed responsibility for the bombing, but local officials blamed the Taliban insurgents.
Taliban representatives have been fighting against the foreign-backed Afghan government, and they have not commented on it since they were expelled by US-led forces at the end of 2001.
Following the international community’s call for a reduction in violence, the Afghan government and the insurgent Taliban have been working hard to make progress in the peace talks between the Qatar capital Doha.
In a statement, the UN Security Council condemned “the strongest statement that the deliberate attacks on Afghan civilians are shocking.”
“The members of Security Council called for an immediate end to those targeted attacks and stressed the urgent and imperative need to bring the perpetrators to justice,” it said.
President Ashraf Ghani strongly condemned the attack and blamed the Taliban.
“The Taliban, by continuing their illegitimate war and violence against the people, once again showed that they not only have will to resolve the current crisis peacefully but by complicating the situation,”Ghani said in a statement.
There were 8,820 civilian casualties in 2020, according to a report released by UN mission in Afghanistan last month.
Russia plans to hold a conference on Afghanistan in Moscow on March 18 and has invited several regional players, including Afghan government and politicians to jumpstart the peace process as diplomacy by foreign powers including Washington ramps up.
May 1 is the imminent deadline for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, and the peace process is at a critical juncture. The United States is reviewing its plan.