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Taliban attack destroys Afghan hospital, kills 20

A deadly early morning truck bomb has destroyed a hospital in southern Afghanistan, killing at least twenty people and wounding more than ninety others.

The Taliban took responsibility for Thursday’s attack, which occurred at Qalat City, the capital of southern Zabul province.

A spokesman for the insurgent group said they were targeting government intelligence offices, next door to the hospital.

Residents, many of whom had come to see their sick family members, used shawls and blankets to carry the wounded inside the destroyed building, while authorities scrambled to take the worst of the wounded to hospitals in nearby Kandahar.

In the early hours after the explosion, there were conflicting figures of the dead and wounded. The provincial governor’s spokesman Gul Islam Seyal said the death toll was twelve but said authorities were on the scene sifting through the rubble.

Head of the provincial council, Atta Jan Haqbayan, put the fatalities at  twenty.

The Taliban has been carrying out near daily attacks in the wake of collapsed peace talks with the United States and ahead of national elections slated for September 28.

On Tuesday, the group targeted an election rally where President Ashraf Ghani had been due to speak, leaving twenty-seven people dead.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump cited a Taliban attack in Kabul which killed a US soldier and eleven others on September 6 as his reason for pulling out of peace talks aimed at ending the eighteen-year conflict.

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