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Bomb, mortars kill 23 civilians in Helmand, Afghan official says

BEV SCHILLING/STARS AND STRIPES

By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 29, 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan — A car bombing and mortar shells fired at a busy market in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province on Monday killed 23 people, including children, a statement form a provincial governor's office said.

Both the Taliban and the Afghan military blame each other for the attack in Sangin district. Details of the reported attack could not be independently confirmed as the area, which is under Taliban control, is remote and inaccessible to reporters.

The statement from the office of the governor, Gen. Mohammad Yasin, did not provide further details and there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, denied the insurgents were involved in the bombing. The Taliban claimed the military fired mortars into the market while the military said a car bomb and mortar shells fired by the insurgents targeted the civilians.

The army also said there was no military activity in the area on Monday and that two Taliban fighters were also killed when the car bomb detonated at the marketplace. Livestock that the locals were selling on the market, sheep and goats, were also killed.

The United Nations in recent reports and statements has asked both sides in the conflict to be more careful of civilian casualties, saying they are on the increase.
 

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