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Afghanistan: 68 Killed in Suicide Attack on Protesters

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Local Editor

The death toll from a suicide attack on Afghan protesters has soared to 68, officials said Wednesday, as violence flares across the country ahead of elections.

Another 165 were wounded in Tuesday's blast in the eastern province of Nangarhar, one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan this year, said Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

The Nangarhar health department confirmed the toll.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the massacre, but the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for "ISIS" / "ISIL"] terrorist group, which has carried out most of the recent suicide bombings in Afghanistan, is active in the province.

Scores of demonstrators had blocked the highway between the provincial capital of Jalalabad and a major Pakistan border crossing in protest over the appointment of a local police chief when the suicide bomber blew himself up.

The dead and wounded were rushed to several hospitals in the back of pickup trucks and ambulances, overwhelming doctors and nurses as they struggled to cope with the huge number of casualties.

It was the deadliest attack since an ambulance packed with explosives detonated in a crowded street in the heart of Kabul in January, killing more than 100 people, mostly civilians. That bombing was claimed by the Taliban.

The attack came hours after a double bombing in front of a girls' school in the provincial capital Jalalabad, which killed a boy and wounded four others.

The first explosion happened in front of Malika Omaira girls' school at around 8:30 am, Khogyani told said.

A second bomb went off as students from a neighboring boys' school and locals gathered at the scene, he added.

A wave of violence across Afghanistan in recent weeks has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and security forces, as the Taliban makes gains on the battlefield and Daesh launches deadly urban attacks.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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