Afghanistan: Security forces in rescue

A powerful suicide truck bombing struck a guest house in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 21 people and wounding as many as 91, the Interior Ministry said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday’s bombing in Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province, and there was no indication as to why the guest house was targeted.

Dozens of people were hurt. There were fears the death toll could rise. Witnesses described roofs collapsing and victims being trapped under the debris. A number of buildings were damaged in the explosion at about 19:00 local time (15:30 GMT) including the civilian guesthouse. Some of those killed were high school students preparing to sit university entrance exams, said Hasibullah Stanekzai, head of Logar’s provincial council. As many as 90 people were injured, interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said. He said the explosion caused widespread damage in the area, including to a hospital and residential houses. “The roofs of houses have collapsed and people are trapped under the debris,” he said. “The security forces are trying to rescue those trapped. “The attack came on the eve of the official date set for the start of the final withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban, who had demanded that all US troops pull out of Afghanistan by May 1, have not offered any guarantees for the safety of the departing troops.