Taliban car bomb hits hospital in Afghan province of Zabul

A Taliban car bomb has killed at least 20 people and wounded 95 others when it exploded near a hospital in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

The armed group said the target of the attack on Thursday was a nearby government intelligence department building in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province.

A senior defence ministry official in Kabul said the fighters wanted to target a training base for the country's powerful security agency the National Directorate of Security (NDS), but parked the explosives-laden vehicle outside a hospital gate nearby.

Residents, many of whom had come to see their sick family members, used shawls and blankets to carry the wounded inside the destroyed hospital building, while authorities scrambled to take the worst of the wounded to hospitals in nearby Kandahar.

Haji Atta Jan Haqbayan, a member of the provincial council in Qalat, said 20 bodies and 95 wounded had been evacuated from the blast site.

Haqbayan said the wall of the NDS building was damaged. He couldn't say whether any personnel were among the casualties.

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