Afghan men stand in front of a military base after a car bomb attack in Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan. File photo / Reuters
LASHKAR GAH: Two explosions went off at a celebration in a stadium in the Afghan city of Lashkar Gah on Saturday, killing four people and wounding 31, government officials said.
The blasts came during a Farmers Day celebration in the southern city that was attended by nearly 1,000 people.
The governor of Helmand province, Mohammad Yasin Khan, was knocked over by the blasts, but suffered only superficial injuries, a spokesman said.
The blasts appeared to have been caused by planted explosives. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In a Reuters video, bursts of gunfire can be heard before and after one of the blasts, causing people to flee the stadium. A Reuters witness said the gunfire came from security personnel.
"There was chaos and people were running. Security forces asked them to calm down and then the second explosion happened," said Najibullah, who was in the stadium for the celebrations.
He said the explosions seemed to originate in an area where tents were set up for farmers to display their products.
The attack is one of several to occur during Afghanistan's multi-day celebrations to mark its traditional new year, beginning with explosions in the capital of Kabul on Thursday.
Those attacks killed six people and wounded 23 and were claimed by Daesh.
The traditional new year is widely celebrated in Afghanistan but some hardline Islamists oppose the festivities, saying they are un-Islamic.
Helmand, source of much of Afghanistan's opium, is one of several Afghan provinces in which insurgents have the greatest control and influence. Lashkar Gah is the provincial capital.
Saturday's attack came exactly one year after a car bomb killed at least 14 people who had gathered to watch a wrestling match in Lashkar Gah.
Fighting has been relentless in Afghanistan amid recurring peace talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators. The latest negotiating round wrapped up this month with both sides saying there was progress toward ending the 17-year war.
The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction estimated in January that the government controlled or influenced just over half the country, covering nearly two-thirds of the population.
Multiple explosions in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday killed six people and wounded 23 in an attack during celebrations to mark the Persian new year, government spokesmen said.
Two explosions went off at a public celebration in the southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah on Saturday, killing two people and wounding the governor of Helmand province, security and hospital officials said.
Two children and eight security forces were among the casualties, said Ataullah Khogyani, spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial government.
President Donald Trump on Thursday for the first time linked a dispute over telecom giant Huawei, which he views as a threat to American security, with a deal to resolve the US-China trade war.
Dr Ashraf Sobhi, Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sports, called for promoting a genuine spirit of sportsmanship and dealing maturely with opposition in sports in the Arab world.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched an array of Ramadan-oriented events highlighted by the annual Ramadan Rations initiative for distributing Ramadan supplies to 500 underprivileged families of students at the National Charity Schools in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.