Afghanistan suicide car bomb kills 14 in Helmand province

10 police officers and four civilians have been killed, with death toll likely to rise 

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The Independent Online

At least 14 people have been killed after a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, police have said.  

The suicide attack happened on Monday in the city of Lashkar Gah, police official Haji Marjan said.

The explosion happened at around 11:30 am in the Mukhtar area of Lashkar Gah’s police district 2, killing four civilians and 10 police officers, including Marjan’s brother, he said.  

The death toll from the attack is expected to rise as it remains unclear how many people have been accounted following the explosion.

A doctor at the international emergency hospital in the city, said 14 bodies had been brought in, with an additional 15 people brought in wounded, one of whom had suffered from gunshot wounds. The doctor spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to media.

The attack comes as Taliban militants entered the city earlier on Monday, launching a large-scale attack on the province’s capital while targeting security checkpoints.

Taliban militants have been on the outskirts of the city for months but managed to enter it after breeching the “defence security belt,” an official on the Helmand province council said.

Sediq Sediqqi, Afghanistan’s interior ministry spokesperson, said Afghan security forces “will soon push them back”.

A spokesperson for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, has said the militants are advancing through the city.

The Taliban has been marching through the strategically important Helmand province for some time, gaining control of around 85 per cent of the area according to provincial officials.

The Helmand province is where the majority of Afghanistan’s opium output comes from and is understood to be worth around $4 billion (£3.22 billion), which is partly used to fund the war.  

Additional reporting by Associated Press