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14 killed and 49 injured in Afghanistan vehicle explosion

A truck laden with explosives was detonated outside a police station in Maiwand district, Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province on 8 November.

At least 14 people were killed and 49 were injured, though the death toll continues to rise. The casualties include police officers, civilians, and security personnel. Four women and a number of children are understood to be among the killed and injured.

Kandahar’s governor, Hayatullah Hayat, reported that the blast destroyed people’s homes, shops, a newly built school and a military installation.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident. However, local officials have accused the Taliban of perpetrating the attack. Kandahar has been a stronghold for armed groups since the 2001 US-led invasion. The explosion comes amid ongoing security operations against the Taliban in Maiwand, Panjwai and Arghandab districts. At least 32 Taliban members have been killed and 17 others wounded in a series of airstrikes and ground battles since 8 November.

Violence has escalated in Afghanistan in recent months and the political situation remains precarious as Taliban and government negotiators hold peace talks in Doha. A day after the vehicle explosion in Kandahar there was a roadside mine blast in Kabul, wounding at least two civilians.

Figures by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission suggest that in the first six months of 2020, nearly 3,000 civilians were killed or injured in 880 different security incidents (1,213 killed, 1,744 injured) such as landmine blasts, aerial raids, and ground offensives between rival parties of the conflict.

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) records casualties (i.e. people killed and injured) from explosive violence around the world as reported in English-language news sources.

During 2020 AOAV recorded 1,202 civilian casualties and 1,061 military casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan.

AOAV strongly condemns the attack in Kandahar and urgently calls for states to collaborate to address the threat of VBIED attacks. The use of explosive weaponry in populated areas has far reaching implications and preventative measures must be implemented to reduce the serious impact on civilians.