Afghan suicide attack kills 35

KANDAHAR: A sophisticated Taliban assault on a key southern Afghan city killed 35 people, officials said today as the militants claimed it was in revenge for plans to wipe them out.

A series of massive explosions rocked Kandahar late yesterday in what appears to be one of the biggest coordinated assaults by the militants since their insurgency began more than eight years ago. The interior ministry’s spokesman said the dead included police officers and civilians, and that another 57 people were injured. “A total of 35 people were killed — 13 police officers and 22 civilians,” Zemarai Bashery told reporters, adding the injured included 40 civilians and 17 police officers.

Kandahar’s provincial governor Turyalai Wisa earlier said 31 people were killed in seven blasts.

A Taliban spokesman, named as Yousuf Ahmadi, told AFP the militants had carried out the attack, which began at Kandahar’s main prison and targeted other government buildings around the city.

In a phone call from

an undisclosed location, the Taliban spokesman said the attacks were

retaliation for comments by the commander of

US and NATO forces that Kandahar would be targeted in efforts to eradicate the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the Afghan government has bowed

to pressure from news

organisations and watered down a blanket ban on

live television coverage

of militant attacks. Rather than a total blackout

on live broadcasts of

violence, the government has told broadcasters

not to show the faces of security personnel or “disturbing” images.