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10 Jan, 2017 12:56

Blasts kill & injure dozens in Afghan cities, including foreign diplomats

A series of explosions have hit several cities in Afghanistan on Tuesday. The largest number of casualties were reported in two blasts that rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul, with up to 38 people killed and 70 others injured, according to conflicting figures cited by media outlets.

The first explosion in Kabul was carried out by a suicide bomber, according to AP. It was quickly followed by a car bomb near the same area.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi confirmed that there were casualties, but said the exact numbers were so far unclear.

Meanwhile, an Afghan official cited by Press TV stated that 38 people had been killed.

A health official cited by Reuters stated that 23 people had been killed and more than 20 others injured, while TOLO News reported that 27 had been killed and 70 wounded.

The blasts were likely targeting an area which includes government and lawmakers' offices, according to Sediqqi.

TOLO reported that the blasts were targeting a convoy of officials leaving parliament offices.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group was responsible for the attacks.

Afghanistan's second largest city, Kandahar, in the country's east, was also targeted on Tuesday. The attackers detonated a bomb during a meeting of Kandahar's governor with the United Arab Emirates' ambassador in Afghanistan.

At least nine people were killed in the attack on the guesthouse, where the meeting was taking place. Sixteen others, including two Emirati diplomats, were injured, local media reported.

The UAE Foreign Ministry has confirmed that its diplomats, including the ambassador, were wounded in what it called a "heinous terrorist attack."

Earlier on Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed at least seven people in southern Helmand province, according to provincial police chief Gen. Agha Noor Kemtoz. He said the target of that attack was a guesthouse used by a provincial intelligence official.

No one has claimed responsibility for these attacks, but the Taliban frequently uses suicide attacks and roadside bombs to target government officials and Afghan security forces.