Attack near base in eastern Afghanistan kills three

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near a police special forces base in eastern Afghanistan yesterday, setting off a gunfight with police followed by a second suicide bombing, a coordinated attack that killed three people, Afghan officials said. Four militants were also killed.

Provincial Health Director in Khost Habib Shah Ansari said so far three bodies and around 30 wounded, both military and civilian, were brought to hospital.

The attack in Khost province comes as the Afghan government continues to fight Taleban militants even as peace talks in Qatar between the two sides take place. It also comes as the United Nations (UN) released a report showing a decrease in civilian casualties in the country compared to last year.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for yesterday’s attack.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said that earlier yesterday morning a vehicle full of explosives detonated near a base belonging to police special forces.

A wounded man receives medical treatment at a hospital after a car bomb attack on an Afghan police base in Khost province. PHOTO: AFP

He added that so far at least four attackers were killed and Afghan forces were fighting two others who were still resisting forces. Arian said that the gun battle underway between the attackers and the Afghan forces may increase casualties.

The violence comes as the UN mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA, released its third quarter report showing a 30 per cent decrease in civilian casualties compared to the same period last year.

While noting that “the conflict in Afghanistan remains one of the deadliest in the world for civilians”, the UN said the first nine months of this year produced the lowest number of civilian casualties since 2012.

The report documented 5,939 civilian casualties, including 2,117 people killed and 3,822 wounded, from January 1 to September 30. The reduction is mainly due to fewer civilian casualties from suicide attacks by insurgents and from a steep drop in airstrikes by international military forces since March 2020, resulting in significantly fewer civilian casualties attributed to the Taleban.

The report said that in the period from September 12 — the start of the Afghanistan peace negotiations between the government and the Taleban in Qatar — to September 30, there was no reduction in the documented number of civilian casualties caused by parties involved in the talks in comparison to previous weeks.