September 2, 2009 / 9:09 AM / 11 years ago

Suicide bomber kills 23 in Afghanistan

MEHTAR LAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber struck in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people, including the deputy head of the country’s intelligence agency, the provincial governor’s spokesman said.

Sayed Ahmad Safi, spokesman for the governor of Laghman province, said the deputy head of the National Directorate of Security, Abdullah Laghmani, was among the dead, as were the heads of the provincial council and provincial executive body.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack was carried out by a suicide car bomber who was a member of the group.

The bomber struck near a mosque in the provincial capital Mehtar Lam, in mountains about 100 km (60 miles) east of Kabul.

A Reuters witness in the town saw a pick-up truck carrying wounded people covered in blood. Eight ambulances left the scene, headed towards Jalalabad, the nearest big city.

A police source said provincial governor Lutfullah Mashal had also been wounded, however the governor’s spokesman could not confirm that.

Reporting by Rafiq Sherzad; Additional reporting by Hamid Shalizi and Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Robert Birsel

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