More than a dozen people have been killed and more than 100 wounded after a car bomb was set off outside a local police headquarters in Ghor in central Afghanistan.
Omar Lalzad, director of Ghor Central Hospital, told RFE/RL that at least 14 people were dead and 119 injured from the October 18 blast, the latest act of deadly violence in the war-torn country.
The Ghor police chief told RFE/RL that 35 Afghan security personnel were among the wounded. He said all the other victims were Afghan civilians. The governor's office in Ghor said in a statement that the Taliban was behind the blast. A Taliban spokesman in the region told RFE/RL that he could not immediately confirm if the militant organization was responsible.
The bomb blast comes as Taliban and Afghan government negotiators are meeting in the Qatari capital, Doha, to negotiate an end to 19 years of war in the country.
The two sides have carried out several deadly attacks against each other since peace talks got under way last month.
Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said a car laden with explosives detonated in central Firoz Koh, the capital of Ghor Province, around 11 a.m. on October 18.
Arian said the car detonated near the entrance of the Ghor police headquarters. Other government buildings are located in the vicinity.
Mohammad Nasrat, a doctor at Ghor’s central hospital, said many of the wounded were in critical condition. He expected the death toll to rise.
Lalzad said a team of doctors from neighboring Herat Province has been sent to Firoz Koh to assist with the injured.
Ghor, a mountainous and remote province in Afghanistan’s central highlands, is one of the most impoverished and unstable regions of the country. The provincial government's power extends little beyond Firoz Koh.
The Taliban has refused to observe a nationwide cease-fire despite the ongoing peace talks, which kicked off on September 12.
On October 16, the Taliban agreed to suspend attacks in southern Afghanistan that had displaced thousands of people in recent days.
It came after Washington vowed to stop all air strikes and night raids in accordance with a bilateral agreement the United States signed with the Taliban in February.
The U.S. military had been conducting air strikes in support of Afghan forces that were attempting to repel a Taliban offensive in Helmand Province, which threatened to derail efforts to end Afghanistan’s war.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has documented more than 1,280 Afghan civilian deaths during the first half of 2020 -- mainly as a result of fighting between Afghan government forces and Taliban militants.