Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Afghan Bombing Hits Workers Lined Up for Pay, Killing Over 20

Afghan Bombing Hits Workers Lined Up for Pay, Killing Over 20

A vehicle bomb exploded outside a bank in Afghanistan's restive Helmand province, killing 29 people waiting to collect their monthly salaries, said the provincial governor.

Governor Hayatullah Hayat said by phone that most of those killed were civilians and at least 60 people were wounded.

Among the dead and wounded were "civilians, teachers, and, army, national police and border police personnel" who were standing in line at the bank to collect their salaries, Noor Aqa Kintooz, Helmand police chief, told dpa.

The attack appears to have been timed to take place while police, soldiers, and other government employees were lining up at the bank to collect their pay.

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The capital, Lashkar Gah, has repeatedly come under attack from Taliban forces.

Ghani says "these brutal terrorist attacks ... prove that they have no respect for any religion or faith".

About 8,400 U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan, and the United States government is considering sending there at least 3,000 - 5,000 additional soldiers, a move advocated in February by America's top commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. John Nicholson.

On 31 May a huge bombing in central Kabul killed more than 150 people, the deadliest militant attack in the country since US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

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The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, which targeted a branch of the New Kabul Bank, said Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor.

For years Helmand province, of which Lashkar Gah is the capital, was the centrepiece of the Western military intervention in Afghanistan, but it has recently slipped deeper into a quagmire of instability.

Members of the security forces are reportedly among casualties, as well as shoppers preparing for the Eid al-Fitr religious festival.

The Taliban terrorist group controls or influences more than 60 percent (nine of 14 districts) of Helmand, considered one of the deadliest provinces in the ongoing 16-year-old war for the US -led coalition, according to the USA military.

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Helmand is the largest Afghan province where most of the territory is controlled or influenced by the Taliban.

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