Car bomb kills 89 in Afghan market

16 July 2014 BBC Online

At least 89 people have been killed and dozens injured in a suicide attack at a busy market in eastern Afghanistan's Paktika province, local officials say.They say the attacker drove a 4x4 vehicle into the market in Orgun district and detonated the explosives. The market was full of people doing their shopping for the Muslim festival Ramzan at the time of the attack. No group has claimed the attack, but Taliban insurgents said they had not carried it out. "We clearly announce that it was not done by the Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency. Eyewitnesses and medical staff said local hospitals were overrun with casualties after one of the deadliest attacks in months in Afghanistan.The eastern province of Paktika shares a border with Pakistan's restive and volatile tribal areas. Orgun is one of Paktika's safest areas, though members of the Haqqani militant network are thought to have a presence there.Tuesday's attack is not a surprise for security forces in the border district with Pakistan's Waziristan region. The Pakistan-based Haqqani network is active in the area. Last week, suicide attackers tried to assassinate local police commander Azizullah -- who is widely credited with bringing security to the province, and what officials call breaking the backbone of the Haqqani network in the province. Many car and truck bombs have been used by the Haqqani network in the province, where they have tried to target officials. But in recent years, most of the truck bombs were either defused, seized or could not reach their targets.For the Afghan civilians, Tuesday's attack once again brings to light how daily life is fraught with many dangers in Afghanistan. The Orgun district bazaar once a bustling town of shops and restaurants now lies in ruin, and covered in blood. The attack will continue to undermine people's confidence in the Afghan government and the day-to-day security.A spokesman for Afghanistan's defence ministry told the BBC that most of the 89 bodies recovered from the rubble were women and children. "ANA [Afghan National Army] soldiers are continuing their work of clearing rubble to look for possible survivors and victims," Gen Zahir Azimi said.Some 42 injured people have been taken to hospital, he added.

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