Afghan security officers inspect the site of a bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. File/AP
Gulf Today Report
A powerful car bomb near a police station on Friday night killed at least eight people and 53 people including civilians and security forces have been hurt in the explosion, officials said on Saturday.
Herat Governor Sayed Abdul Wahid Qatali said several women and children were among the dead.
One among the dead and 11 of the injured were Afghan Security Forces personnel.
The death toll in the explosion late on Friday that also destroyed 14 houses is expected to rise because several of the injured were critical, said Rafiq Sherzai, a spokesman for the provincial hospital, according to The Associated Press.
Dozens of homes and shops were also damaged in the blast as rescuers rushed to the scene to help several people trapped under the rubble, Qatali said.
One among the dead and 11 of the injured were Afghan Security Forces personnel while the remainder were civilians, including women and children, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.
No one has claimed responsibility.
Within hours of the attack, the UN Security Council at a press briefing in New York condemned an “alarming” increase in attacks in Afghanistan targeting civilians even as the Taliban and the Afghan government hold on-again-off-again talks in Qatar.
“These heinous attacks have targeted civil servants, the judiciary, the media, health care and humanitarian workers, including women in prominent positions, those who protect and promote human rights, and ethnic and religious minorities,” the council said.
Afghan boys receive treatment at the hospital after a car bomb blast in Herat province, Afghanistan. Reuters
The US meanwhile is reviewing a peace deal the Trump administration signed with the Taliban, which calls for the final withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 US troops from Afghanistan by May 1.
The growing consensus is for a delay but in a sternly worded letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last weekend pressing for progress on making peace with the Taliban, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said all options, including the withdrawal, are still on the table.
The proposed peace deal offered by the US calls for an interim “peace government” to shepherd a post-war Afghanistan to elections and constitutional reforms. It also calls for the protection of equal rights for women and minorities.
The UN Security Council also called for “full, equal and meaningful participation of women,” and a quick move toward a reduction in violence.
A truck packed with explosives blew up near a court in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez on Thursday, killing at least five people, two days after gunmen attacked a maternity ward in the capital Kabul, killing women and newborn babies.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they targeted three vehicles of "foreigners" as they tried to enter the heavily guarded Shashdarak area where the Afghan national security authorities have offices.
The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops but only in return for the insurgent group renouncing Al-Qaeda and curbing attacks.
US and Taliban officials have been negotiating in Qatar since last year on an agreement centred on the withdrawal of US forces, and an end to their longest-ever war, in exchange for a Taliban guarantee that international militant groups will not plot from Afghan soil.
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Qureshi said Pakistan was determined to help Afghanistan avoid a collapse of its economy and had agreed measures to ease some border restrictions and facilitate trade, including on-arrival visas for Afghan business travellers. "