(Reuters) – The suicide bomber, his explosives concealed under his clothes, walked quietly into a packed volleyball venue in eastern Afghanistan. His target: a local police commander. Minutes later, a devastating explosion tore through the place.
At least 50 people were killed instantly on Sunday evening when the blast went off at the height of a popular volleyball game in a remote area in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.
Details of the attack, one of the deadliest in Afghanistan this year, were initially sketchy but as dozens of wounded were brought to the capital, Kabul, to be treated, a clearer picture emerged on Monday of what happened during the tournament.
“Around 500 people had gathered there to watch the match. A local police commander and his men also came an hour later,” Ghazi Khan, 19, a volleyball player, told Reuters as he lay in a Kabul hospital, his legs and stomach heavily bandaged.
“Soon after they arrived the suicide bomber came and detonated his explosives attached to his body. He (the police commander) was the target.”
Other witnesses echoed the story. “The bomber’s target was those government people and local policemen who came to watch the match,” said Eid Mohammad, 28, another wounded player.