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Blast Kills Dozens Of People In Afghanistan's Eastern Logar Province

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The aftermath of a bomb blast in Pul e-Alam, Afghanistan, which killed at least 27 people on April 30.

A huge car-bomb explosion in Afghanistan's eastern province of Logar killed at least 26 people on April 30, officials said.

The blast at a guest house in the provincial capital of Pul-e Alam also injured 60 people, said Hasibullah Stanekzai, the head of Logar's provincial council, and police officer Gul Haidar Ahmadi.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said around 40 people had been taken to hospital, some in a critical condition.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian put the toll at 21 killed and 91 wounded.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast. A spokesman for the Taliban said in response to Reuters' questions that they were looking into the matter.

The European Union's delegation to Afghanistan condemned 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 said on Twitter.

The attack came the same day a U.S. government watchdog warned that despite ongoing peace talks, violence in Afghanistan has increased in the first three months of the year.

In a report published on April 30, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said the number of so-called enemy-initiated attacks -- attacks conducted by insurgents such as the Taliban -- has increased nearly 37 percent from January to March compared to the same quarter last year.

Violence in Afghanistan has been on the rise in recent weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO announced that Washington and the alliance would withdraw troops by September 11 to end two decades of foreign military presence.

The announcement angered the Taliban who had signed a deal with previous Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, that specified troops would be gone from the country by May 1 subject to certain security guarantees.

The incident occurred the same day that the German military officially began its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending a deployment lasting almost 20 years.

"Our mission in Afghanistan is over," the Defense Ministry announced in Berlin, confirming earlier statements that the contingent of just over 1,000 – the second largest group of international forces -- would leave.

Also on April 30, representatives of the extended "Troika" on a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan, comprising the United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan, urged the Taliban to refrain from launching a spring offensive this year.

"We reiterate our call on all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan to reduce the level of violence in the country and on the Taliban not to pursue a Spring offensive," it said in a statement.

"We condemn in the strongest terms any attacks deliberately targeting civilians in Afghanistan and call on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law in all circumstances, including those related to protection of civilians."

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AP
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