A suicide bombing outside a bank in southern Afghanistan on Thursday killed at least 36 people, many of them teachers and security personnel collecting their salaries ahead of Eid.
Police said 59 people were wounded in the attack outside a Kabul Bank branch in Lashkargah, the capital of the embattled southern Afghan province of Helmand.
Among the dead and wounded were “civilians, teachers, and army, national police and border police personnel” who were standing in line at the bank to collect their salaries, Noor Aqa Kintooz, Helmand police chief, told dpa. Most of the injured are in critical condition, Kintooz said.
The attack comes before Eid celebrations on Sunday, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The government usually transfers salaries, including a bonus, early so people can buy presents and delicacies for the festivities.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi on Twitter claimed that 73 soldiers, police and Afghan spy agency personnel were killed.
Helmand is a Taliban stronghold and the extremist group controls about 80 per cent of the province. The Taliban regularly targets banks in order to kill government employees collecting their pay.
In February, a similar incident in Lashkargah left at least seven people dead and dozens wounded when a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle next to an Afghan army vehicle as soldiers arrived to collect their pay.
At the end of May, at least seven people were killed and 31 were injured when a Kabul Bank branch in Paktia province was attacked by militants.
Kabul (dpa)- 22.06.2017