MAIMANA, Afghanistan, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen people were killed and 20 others injured Tuesday morning in a suicide bomb attack in Maimana, the provincial capital of northern Afghan province 425 km northwest of Kabul, provincial governor Mohammad Allah Baktash said.
"In the coward terrorist attack in Maimana city this morning 15 innocent civilians lost their lives and 20 others sustained injuries," Baktash told Xinhua.
The deadly attack took place at 08:45 a.m. local time Tuesday, he added.
The government troops immediately cordoned off the area shortly after the blast.
Police and the rescue teams reached to the site following the attack to rescue the harmed persons.
The explosion also damaged several shops and vehicles nearby, the governor confirmed.
According to locals, the bloody suicide bombing happened amid preparation by the people in the town to celebrate Nawroz or Afghan New Year, in Persian calendar falling on Friday.
No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
However, Taliban militants fighting the government had termed Nawroz festival as un-Islamic and banned it during its rule which collapsed in late 2001.
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UNITED NATIONS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Monday called on the international community to continue its support to Afghanistan's ongoing transition as well as an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process.
Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, made the call here at a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Afghanistan. Full story
8 militants killed in Afghanistan within day: gov't
KABUL, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan Interior Ministry said Monday that the country's security forces have killed eight militants during operations since early Sunday.
"In past 24 hours, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) carried out several cleanup operations and battled militants in Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, Ghazni, Paktiya and Paktika provinces, causing eight Taliban militants killed and six others wounded," the ministry said in a statement, adding one rebel was detained by the ANSF. Full story