Suicide attack kills 20 at Afghan funeral

A suicide bomber targeted an Afghan government official at a village funeral near the Pakistan border on Tuesday, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens more in one of the deadliest attacks of the year.

One official said up to 25 people died, including a son of the district governor, after the bomber walked into a crowd of mourners paying their respects to a late tribal elder in the remote Shigi village of Dur Baba district in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

District governor Hamisha Gul was the target and was wounded in the blast. His brother was also hurt in the attack, which happened at around 2:30 pm (1000 GMT).

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Taliban have routinely targeted officials during their decade-long insurgency aimed at evicting US-led NATO troops and bringing down the Western-backed Afghan government.

Violence has risen in recent months as insurgents look to capitalise on the phased withdrawal of the bulk of 130,000 Western combat troops who are due to leave at the end of 2014 and transfer full responsibility for security to their Afghan counterparts.

Local officials suggested the attack could have been to avenge a recent pledge by tribesmen in the area to rise up against any Taliban who may stray into the district.

Witnesses described scenes of horror.

"I heard a big bang and saw smoke all over the place, then I saw pieces of flesh and people all around me were covered in blood. I don't know what happened, but it caused a lot of casualties," one victim told AFP from a hospital without giving his name.

The interior ministry confirmed 20 deaths and said 50 people were wounded, including the district governor. "Some wounded people are in a critical condition, the toll might rise," spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.

Due to the remote location of the attack, casualty reports differed.

"Twenty-five people, including the son of the district governor, have been killed and 30 other people were injured," said Nangarhar provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, adding that Gul was wounded by the attacker, who came on foot.

Tuesday's bombing was one of the worst attacks of the year in Afghanistan and comes just weeks after the deadliest day of 2012, when 50 people were killed in a series of attacks.

It is not the first time that suicide bombers have attacked funerals in the country.

On December 25, 2011, 19 people, including an MP, were killed in the northeastern city of Taluqan after a bomber walked into a burial ceremony and detonated explosives strapped to his chest.

Lawmaker Abdulmutalib Baiga, a former anti-Taliban Northern Alliance commander and the former police chief of Kunduz province, died in the Taluqan attack. He was working with opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah in the newly-established National Coalition of Afghanistan.

The United Nations says 1,145 civilians were killed and 1,954 wounded in the war in the first six months of this year, with the world body blaming 80 percent of the deaths on insurgents.

  • Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors 3 hours ago
    Treasure trove of British newsreels reveals Top Gear's ancestors

    Long after television grew to dominate American and British homes, newsreel producer British Pathé kept at it, documenting the news of the day until finally ceasing production of new short films in 1970 after 60 years of effort. Last week, all of British Pathé's 85,000 films were put online — including dozens of fascinating, rare and often weird car films that resemble nothing so much as a jet-age Top Gear.

  • Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete 4 hours ago
    Nissan tests self-cleaning paint that could make car washes obsolete

    During this vile, never-ending winter, motorists had three options to keep their cars clean: Shell out on regular car washes; slave away in the cold, wind and snow washing it yourself, or screw it and just drive a dirty car. I, like many, chose the last option. But if only I'd been able to test Nissan's self-cleaning car, all my troubles would have washed away.

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 11 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.
    I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind.

    I have committed a taboo – I have tendered my resignation without securing the next job. The reactions to the announcement were varied but they all pretty much hint at a deep sense of disapproval. “Why did you do that?” It was as if I had renounced my faith. “What are you going to do from now on?” Almost as though a misfortune had incapacitated me. “What does your family have to say about it?” As if I had offered to cook for the next family dinner. I was, and still am, certain of my reasons and motivations for the resignation. However the response I received got me thinking about why people are so concerned about the gaps in their careers. The developed world evolved from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy to the service age, then to the knowledge economy in the late 1990s and 2000s marked by breakthroughs in technological innovations and competition for innovation with new products and processes that develop from the research community. According to The Work Foundation, the knowledge economy is driven by the demand for higher value added goods and services created by more sophisticated, more discerning, and better educated consumers and ... The post I tendered my resignation without securing the next job. Here’s why I don’t mind. appeared first on Vulcan Post.