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Afghanistan: Taliban claims Helmand bombing /update 1

Taliban claims responsibility for deadly car bombing that killed at least 34 and injured 58 others in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, on June 22

TIMEFRAME expected from 22/6/2017, 12h00 until 23/6/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Kabul). COUNTRY/REGION Helmand province

Event

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the suicide car bombing that killed at least 34 people and injured 58 others outside a bank in the city of Lashkar Gah (Helmand province) on Thursday, June 22. The blast occurred as a crowd of people were collecting their salaries ahead of the Eid holiday weekend. Following the initial explosion, one gunman subsequently opened fire, prompting clashes with security forces.

Context

Multiple attacks have been carried out in the country during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan. Most notably, on May 31 a bomb exploded near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace located in the Wazir Akbar Khan area at the center of Kabul's highly secured diplomatic "Green Zone." Over 100 people were killed and another 400 wounded in the attack. The bomb was reportedly delivered via a water tanker and contained over 1500 kg (3300 lb) of explosives that left a 7 m (23 ft) deep crater. Furthermore, three explosive devices detonated at a funeral in the Khair Khan district of the capital Kabul on June 3, killing at least 20 people and wounding 35. Typically, there is a heightened terrorist threat during Ramadan in Afghanistan; in the past, Islamic State (IS) has called on members to perpetrate attacks during this period and some regional terrorist groups have followed suit. Furthermore, the Taliban, widely present in the region, announced the official start of their yearly spring offensive in late April.

Advice

As always, due to major security concerns, individuals throughout Afghanistan are urged to keep a safe distance from large gatherings, military convoys, government buildings, and crowded urban areas. Many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to Afghanistan due to the high threat of kidnapping and terrorism, including frequent attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, local civilians and politicians, and individuals working in the humanitarian and reconstruction fields. Travel to the country should only be undertaken with proper security protocols in place.

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