A powerful morning suicide bomb truck devastated a hospital in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 90, an official said.
The Taliban assumed responsibility for the attack, which destroyed part of the hospital in Qalat, the capital of the southern province of Zabul, and left a fleet of shattered and battered ambulances.
Residents, many of whom had come to see their sick relatives, used shawls and blankets to take the wounded into the destroyed building, while authorities rushed to take the worst wounded to hospitals near Kandahar.
In the first hours after the explosion there were contradictory figures of dead and wounded. The provincial governor's spokesman, Gul Islam Seyal, calculated the death toll at 12, but said authorities were on the scene scrutinizing the debris. Atta Jan Haqbayan, head of the provincial council, calculated the death toll at 20.
The Taliban, who have been carrying out almost daily attacks since the peace talks with the United States collapsed earlier this month, said the target was a nearby building of the government intelligence department.
Haqbayan said the building wall of the Department of Homeland Security (NDS) was damaged. I couldn't tell if there were personnel among the victims.