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Deadly car bomb hits Afghanistan's Lashkar Gah

شعار Al Jazeera Al Jazeera 22/06/2017
Most of the casualties were civilians, according to Helmand governor [Noor Mohammad/AFP] © Provided by Al Jazeera Most of the casualties were civilians, according to Helmand governor [Noor Mohammad/AFP]

A car bomb exploded outside a bank in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, killing at least 29 people and wounding dozens, provincial governor said.

At least 60 people were wounded in the attack outside a bank and most of the casualties were civilians, Hayaullah Hayat said.

The blast took place around 12 noon local time (08:00GMT), according to the governor's spokesperson Omar Zwak, when civilians and members of the security forces waiting to collect their pay.

The blast upturned vehicles, left the area littered with charred debris and sent a plume of smoke rising in the sky.

The bank is believed to have been especially crowded ahead of the Eid holidays marking the end of Ramadan.

There were reportedly many Afghan National Army soldiers inside the bank at the time of the explosion.

Emergency workers and passers-by tried to help the injured, who were strewn among the dead. Ambulances and private cars ferried the victims to hospitals.

"Civilians and military are among the wounded," Zwak said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Al Jazeera's Rob McBride, reporting from Kabul, said the explosion took place outside a branch of Kabul Bank.

"This private bank has been targeted before. It does handle salary payments for security forces," he said.

"Because it has been targeted before, it does have very tight security. But there's only so much you can do with a car bomb outside."

Last month, at least three people were killed and many wounded in an attack on a bank in the eastern city of Gardez.

Lashkar Gah is situated just over 550km from Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

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