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Car bombing in western Afghanistan kills 13, wounds 120

By RAHIM FAIEZ | Associated Press | Published: October 18, 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide car bombing on Sunday killed at least 13 people and wounded around 120 others in Afghanistan's western Ghor province, officials said.

The head of a hospital in Ghor, Mohammad Omer Lalzad, said emergency staff were treating dozens of people with both serious and light injuries from the bombing. He expected the death toll to rise.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Aran said the car bombing struck near the entrance of the provincial police chief's office and other nearby government buildings in the area.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Ghor, which comes amid an uptick in attacks by the Taliban as representatives of the group and Afghan government officials hold their first-ever face-to-face talks in Qatar, where the Taliban have had a political office for many years.

The negotiations are meant to end the country's decades-long war.

Arif Aber, spokesman for the provincial governor in Ghor, said the blast was so strong that its sound could heard across Feroz Koh, the capital city of the province.

"It damaged and partially destroyed a few government buildings, including the police chief's office, the women's affairs department and the provincial office for refugees," Aber said.

On Friday, the Taliban agreed to suspend attacks in southern Afghanistan that had displaced thousands of residents in recent days. It came after the U.S. vowed to halt all strikes and night raids in keeping with the peace agreement the U.S. signed with the Taliban in February.

The U.S. had been conducting air strikes in support of Afghan forces trying to repel Taliban assaults in Helmand province, which threatened to derail efforts to end Afghanistan's war.