World Bulletin/News Desk
At least 45 people were killed and nearly 56 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in Afghanistan on Sunday, Afghan authorities said.
The bomber was targeting a volleyball match in the country's southeastern Paktika province.
According to Deputy Interior Ministry Mohammad Ayob Salangi, at least 45 people were killed and 56 others injured following the suicide attack.
Players, children and elderly people were among those killed and injured, he added. Salangi did not mention information regarding police casualties.
Mohammad Essa, a tribal elder from the district, told The Anadolu Agency that at least 55 people were killed and 85 others injured in the incident.
“People were clapping and cheering when a big explosion happened,” Essa added.
He also said that the match was organized by local police and was played between volleyball teams from the Yahya Khil and Yousuf Khil districts of Parwan.
An Afghan doctor from a hospital in the provincial capital, Sharana, told the Anadolu Agency, on condition of anonymity, that an emergency situation was announced at the hospital.
He added that most of those injured in the attack died due to a lack of facilities.
Most died from a loss of blood, due to injuries in their head and chest. One family had lost five of its members.
“We have asked the central government to help us transport injured people to the capital Kabul for further treatment,” provincial governor spokesman, Mokhlis Afghan, told the Anadolu Agency.
“President Ashraf Ghani deplores the heinous attack that took the lives of many Afghan civilians in Paktika,” a statement released by the Afghan presidential palace said.
In a similar incident, at least five volleyball players were gunned down in the eastern province of Laghman by attackers riding on motorbikes in Jan. 2014.
Between 1996 and 2001, volleyball and many other sports were banned by the Taliban regime.
Paktika, a province that borders Pakistan, is known as a stronghold of the Haqqani network, which has been blamed for many deadly attacks.
On July 2014, a suicide car bomb attack took place in Paktika province.
At least 89 people were killed and 42 others injured. It was the bloodiest attack on civilians in Afghanistan for years.
Sunday's attack came hours after the Afghan parliament approved a bill that would allow the U.S. and NATO to keep their troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.