A huge car bomb blast killed at least 30 people and wounded dozens more in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province on Friday evening, with high-school students among the casualties, officials reported.
The car packed with explosives went off in Logar’s capital of Pul-e Alam near the house of the former head of the provincial council, Didar Lawang, the spokesman for Logar’s governor, said.
The house also operated as a guesthouse and the explosion had struck just as guests were breaking their fast during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, according to the head of Logar’s provincial council, Hasibullah Stanekzai.
He said among the casualties were high-school students who had been staying at the house, having traveled to the capital to sit their university entrance exam, as well as pro-government militia members who were staying there while waiting for air transport to another distinct.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast. The insurgent Taliban did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Violence in Afghanistan has escalated over the last weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden announced Washington would withdraw troops by Sept. 11 to end two decades of foreign military presence.
Biden’s decision angered the Taliban who had signed a deal with former U.S. President Donald Trump that indicated troops would be gone from the country by May 1 subject to certain security guarantees.
Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said the death toll from Friday’s blast could rise.
A provincial health official said just over 60 wounded people had been rushed to hospital and several students were among the victims.
The European Union’s delegation to Afghanistan deplored the attack.
“In the holy month of Ramadan, horrible news on a car bomb in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, killing and injuring innocent civilians, including students….this is a tragedy for the whole country,” it wrote on Twitter.