Kabul, May 14 (efe-epa).- Taliban militants detonated a truck packed with explosives near a military center in an east Afghanistan city on Thursday, killing at least five civilians, officials said.
Tariq Arian, an interior ministry spokesperson, said the “enemies of peace and stability” triggered the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in a “civilian-populated area” of Gardez, the provincial capital of Paktia.
He said the authorities fear the bombing that took place near a military court adjacent to the revenue department killed or wounded “tens of citizens”.
However, Emal Momand, a military spokesperson, told EFE that the attack left at least five civilians dead and another 19 people, including five Afghanistan soldiers, wounded.
The injured have been evacuated to a military hospital.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement sent to EFE claimed the responsibility for the attack, saying the blast left tens of army personnel dead or wounded.
He said the attack was carried out after Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani ordered operations against the Taliban on Wednesday.
Mujahid warned of more attacks like these to target “military command and operation centers of the enemy”.
Arian blamed the Taliban-linked Haqqani network and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant out for the attack.
He said the attack is part of a series of violence unleashed by the Taliban.
Afghanistan is facing a surge in violence even as the United States in February signed a peace agreement with the Taliban on Feb.29 on troop withdrawal from the war-ravaged country.
The Taliban and the government forces have been blaming each other for violating the agreement.
The truck bombing in Gardez comes after two days after gunmen stormed a maternity hospital in Kabul, killing 24 people, including newborn babies and mothers on Tuesday.
A suicide bomb claimed at a funeral in eastern Nangahar province on the same day killed 24.
President Ghani condemned the attacks and ordered the military to give up the defensive mode it had adopted in the wake of the peace agreement that would have also ushered in intra-Afghan talks for ending decades of violence in Afghanistan.
The Taliban had denied any involvement in the attacks on Tuesday but the government said it was using other militant outfits to carry out violent incidents. EFE-EPA