At least three killed in suicide bombing in Afghan city of Kandahar | ISIL/ISIS News

At least 12 others wounded in blast that targeted a group of people waiting outside a bank in city centre.

At least three people have been killed and 12 others wounded in a suicide bombing in front of a bank in Afghanistan’s Kandahar city, according to local police and officials.

The ISIL (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack on its Telegram channel.

The explosion at around 8:00am (03:30 GMT) targeted a group of people waiting outside the New Kabul Bank branch in central Kandahar city.

Local police and Taliban officials said three people were killed and 12 were wounded. A source at a major hospital in the southern city said the toll was much higher, the AFP news agency reported.

“Mirwais Hospital has received 20 people killed since this morning from the explosion,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal for speaking to the media.

Inamullah Samangani, director of information and culture of Kandahar province, said the bank was busy with people collecting their salaries when the explosion went off.

“Commonly our compatriots gather there to collect their salaries,” he said, adding that the “victims were civilians”.

One of the victims, Khalil Ahmad, a father of eight in his 40s, had gone to the bank to get his salary, his nephew said at his funeral later Thursday.

“He was just an ordinary, simple guy; he used to work as a painter,” Mohammad Shafiq Saraaj said, as Ahmad’s relatives gathered around his body wrapped in a white cloth for burial.

“Such incidents used to happen under the previous government … and now it is happening as well,” Saraaj said.

“We beg for security to be properly maintained in the country and especially in crowded places, and that our nation be saved from this kind of tragedy.”

‘Under control’

In the aftermath of the explosion, Taliban authorities surrounded the area outside the bank and did not allow media workers to approach the site.

Samangani said on Thursday morning that “the situation is under control” at one of the city’s hospitals where the wounded were transported, denying there was an urgent need for blood donations as had been circulated on social media.

“There is no such issue, and the wounded people are not in serious condition; they have superficial injuries,” he said in a message to journalists.

Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada lives in Kandahar, the second-largest city in the country.

The number of bomb blasts and suicide attacks in Afghanistan has markedly declined since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, ousting the United States-backed government.

However, a number of armed groups – including the regional chapter of ISIL – remain a threat.

Several explosions have been reported around Afghanistan since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 11, but few have been confirmed by Taliban officials.

The US Charge d’Affaires for Afghanistan, Karen Decker, condemned “all acts of terror” in a post on X, offering condolences to the families of the victims.

“Afghans should be able to observe Ramadan peacefully & without fear,” she said.

The regional chapter of ISIL has a history of targeting Shia Muslims who it considers heretics, but is also a rival of the Taliban.

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