A pair of suicide bombings kills 25 people in Afghanistan

Two suicide bombings Saturday left at least 25 people dead and dozens more injured in eastern Afghanistan.

The first blast took place in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province, bordering Pakistan.

According to the provincial governor, Wahidullah Kalimzai, an assailant on a motorcycle detonated his explosives at the entrance of a government office.

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At least 13 people were killed and 37 injured in the attack, the United Nations said.

Among the dead was Khan Jan, a tribal elder and militia leader who had been involved in anti-Taliban operations in the past year.

But most of the dead and wounded were bystanders, including children playing in a nearby park, according to the governor.

Abdullah Abdullah, President Ashraf Ghani’s chief executive, condemned the bombing in a tweet.

“This attack presented another example of the enmity of terrorists with the Afghan nation, especially women and children,” Abdullah said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but provincial officials said they suspected the Taliban.

The explosion in Kunar was followed by a late afternoon blast in the capital, Kabul, that killed at least 12 people, including one member of the Afghan military, and injured eight others, including at least two women.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack, saying a suicide bomber had targeted the entrance gate of the Ministry of Defense.

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The ministry issued a statement saying the attack showed that the militants couldn’t face the Afghan defense and security forces face to face on the battlefield.

The two bombings came just days after the Afghan government -- in conjunction with China, Pakistan and the United States -- said it hoped that the Taliban would agree to take part in direct talks with representatives from Kabul in early March.

Latifi is a special correspondent.

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UPDATES

12:14 p.m.: This article was updated with the death toll rising to 25

10:24 a.m.: This article was updated with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 2:48 a.m.

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