Taliban denies reponsibility for Afghan blast

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The Independent Online

The Taliban denied responsibility today for a massive attack in the southern city of Kandahar that killed and wounded dozens of Afghan civilians the previous day.

Some 43 Afghan civilians were killed and 65 others were wounded when a truck bomb was remotely exploded in Kandahar city on Tuesday at dusk, the Afghan Interior Ministry said. The attack was the worst in Afghanistan in more than a year.

"We are not responsible for the attack and we condemn it," Taliban's Qari Yousuf told Reuters.

"It could be a government propaganda, it is their job to find out who did this," Yousuf said.

A Taliban field commander in neighboring Helmand province had sent a text message hours after the blast to a Reuters reporter claiming responsibility. However, the Taliban leadership says such claims are sometimes issued without authorisation.

The blast flattened several houses and shops in the area and set ablaze a restuarant. Rescue workers were searching for wounded people under the rubble today.

The Kandahar bomb also shattered a relative lull in violence since last Thursday's election and the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.