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United Arab Emirates says 5 diplomats killed in Afghan blast

The death toll in two bombings in Afghanistan rose to 46 on Wednesday as the United Arab Emirates said five of its diplomats were killed in an attack in the southern province of Kandahar a day earlier.

The federation of Persian Gulf sheikdoms said it would observe three days of mourning for its diplomats, who it said were in Afghanistan on a humanitarian mission.

“There is no human, moral or religious justification for the bombing and killing of people trying to help” others, the UAE’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said on Twitter.

The Kandahar bombing struck a guesthouse belonging to the provincial governor, killing nine people — including an Afghan diplomat, two Afghan lawmakers and the province’s deputy governor.

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Also Wednesday, the Afghan public health ministry raised the death toll from a double bombing in western Kabul to 37, one of the deadliest attacks in the capital in months. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which struck a minibus traveling near the Afghan parliament building.

Nearly 100 people were wounded in the blasts, the second of which targeted people who had rushed to the site of the first blast to aid the wounded.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Kandahar.

It was one of the deadliest assaults against the UAE’s diplomatic corps. The oil-rich federation was part of the original U.S.-led coalition that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban regime, sending three security personnel.

In subsequent years, UAE special forces personnel quietly worked alongside U.S. troops to train elite Afghan units and conduct raids on suspected Taliban hideouts.

Special correspondent Faizy reported from Kabul and Times staff writer Bengali from Mumbai, India.

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UPDATES:

4:30 a.m.: This article was updated throughout with staff reporting.

This article was originally published at 10:35 p.m.

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