At least 16 people were killed and 90 others injured after a powerful explosion on Sunday rocked the city of Firoz Koah, capital of Afghanistan's Ghor province, an official confirmed.
"The final number of casualties would be shared with media later in the day. The number of casualties may change as the rescue of victims from under debris is continuing," the provincial government official told Xinhua news agency.
The official added that many of the injured remained in critical condition. The blast occurred roughly at 11.15 a.m. when an explosive-laden minibus was detonated in an area where the provincial police department and several other government offices are located, a security official told Xinhua.
"The nature of the blast could be a suspected suicide bombing. The blast sent a column of thick smoke into the sky and triggered panic, besides causing destruction," he said. Security forces have cordoned off the area for precautionary measures. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
January Attack in Balkh Province
In the past, at least eight soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in Afganistan's Balkh province in January when a similar attack took place at a highway police checkpoint in Alam Khail village of Balkh province on Tuesday night. There were 14 soldiers at the checkpoint and six soldiers survived the attack.
The checkpoint is located on the Balkh-Jawzjan highway. A source told TOLOnews that the Taliban conducted the attack with the help of an infiltrator. Two ANA soldiers were also killed in a Taliban attack in the night in Takhar province, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.
The incident happened late at night in Darqad district when a group of Taliban attacked a joint forces checkpoint. Two others, including a police officer, were wounded in the attack, the MoD said.