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At Least 32 Killed, Dozens Wounded In Kandahar Blast, Other Afghan Attacks

Smoke billows from the scene of a bomb explosion in Kandahar on May 22.
Smoke billows from the scene of a bomb explosion in Kandahar on May 22.

At least 32 people have been reported killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan and attacks in the country's east, as the Taliban pushed ahead with its annual spring offensive across the country.

In the southern city of Kandahar, officials said at least 16 people were killed and more than 30 wounded when explosives placed inside two containers blew up as security forces were trying to defuse them.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence service said the explosives were discovered in a large open yard of workshops.

It was initially reported that the explosives were packed in a minibus.

Authorities at Kandahar's Mirwais hospital said the dead and wounded included both civilians and members of the Afghan security forces.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Kandahar Province is a major center of opium cultivation and a stronghold of the Taliban.

Meanwhile, in the eastern province of Ghazni, officials said on May 22 that at least 14 police officers were killed in several attacks by the militants.

Provincial council member Hassan Reza Yusufi said that seven officers were killed in one attack in the Dih Yak district, among them the police chief of the district, Sayedullah Tofan, and a reserve police commander.

Arif Noori, a spokesman for Ghazni's governor, said another seven officers were killed in the Jaghatu district.

Yusufi said the attacks started late on May 21 and fighting was still under way on May 22 in the Dih Yak, Jaghatu, Ajristan, and Qarabagh districts.

Latifa Akbari, the head of the provincial council in Ghazni, confirmed that Taliban fighters attacked a number of checkpoints in Dih Yak and Jaghatu and there were more than 20 casualties among members of the security forces.

A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks. Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the Jaghatu district headquarters was captured as well as police checkpoints in Dih Yak.

In the province of Paktia, also in southern Afghanistan, at least two police officers were killed when their checkpoint came under attack by Taliban fighters, said General Gul Agha Rohani, the provincial police chief.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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