Afghan bomber kills at least 25
A suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral in eastern Afghanistan today, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens, officials said.
The bomber struck in Nangarhar province near the Pakistani border when residents, along with relatives of a chief from a distant district, were gathered at a graveyard.
A local district chief and dozens of his relatives were at the ceremony in the Dur Baba district of Nangarhar province, near the Pakistan border, when a man detonated a vest he was wearing packed with explosives, the officials said.
They said Dur Baba district chief Haji Hamesha Gul, who was wounded in the attack, was probably the main target.
"My brother saw the bomber and grabbed him just as he pushed the button, killing him and many others," Mr Gul said from a hospital bed in Jalalabad, Nangarhar's capital.
Khan Mohammad, also in hospital in Jalalabad after being wounded in the attack, said: "I was at the graveyard just putting the dead body inside the tomb when I heard a loud explosion. Many people were screaming and crying for help."
The provincial governor's spokesman, Ahmadzia Abdulzai, said the attack was aimed at Mr Gul and his supporters because they had recently opposed insurgents in the area. The funeral was for one of Gul's relatives.
"We have at least 25 innocent people martyred and around 65 others wounded," Mr Abdulzai said. Nato also put the death toll at 25, but said more than 50 were people wounded.
The attack was carried out days after 15 men and two women were beheaded in southern Helmand province, punishment meted out by Taliban insurgents for a mixed-sex party with music and dancing.
Despite the presence of thousands of Afghan and foreign troops fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, violence is at its worst since the Islamists were toppled by Afghan and US forces in late 2001, five years after they took power.
A recent UN report said the Taliban were responsible for 80 per cent of civilian casualties.