AT least 17 civilians have been killed and 46 others injured in a crowded market in northern Afghanistan.

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According to reports, a suicide attacker with a body-borne improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the centre of Maimana, Faryab’s capital. Local health officials have confirmed that two children were amongst those killed, and the injured included a pregnant woman. Photo by BNA

BBC Reports “A pregnant woman and two children are also among the dead,” said Abdul Sattar Barez, deputy governor for Faryab province.

“The bomber driving an explosive-filled auto rickshaw and wearing an explosive vest blew himself up in the crowded Maisara area in Maimana city.”
Most of the victims were shopkeepers and other vendors, he said, adding: “The blast was so strong that the bodies were torn to pieces.”
The wounded were taken to nearby medical facilities and also to Mazar-e-Sharif, provincial capital for Balkh.
The crowds in the area were larger than usual as people were shopping for the Afghan New Year, according to another official.
Faryab is a restive province bordering Turkmenistan in northern Afghanistan.
In November, six Afghans working for the French agency Acted were shot dead by Taliban militants in Pashtun Kot district.

UN Press Statement
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemns a deadly suicide attack which took place today in the northern province of Faryab, killing 15 civilians and injuring another 47.

According to reports, a suicide attacker with a body-borne improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the centre of Maimana, Faryab’s capital. Local health officials have confirmed that two children were amongst those killed, and the injured included a pregnant woman.

“The continuing rise in civilian deaths from IEDs is tragic. Their use in a distinctly civilian location such as a market is atrocious and cannot be justified,” said the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and acting head of UNAMA, Nicholas Haysom. “I reiterate the many calls made by UNAMA for an immediate stop to the indiscriminate use of IEDs, especially in areas known to be populated by civilians.”

UNAMA stresses that the indiscriminate use of IEDs may amount to a war crime. International humanitarian law – which binds all parties to the armed conflict in Afghanistan – strictly prohibits the use of weapons and attacks that do not distinguish between civilians and military objectives.

In the first two and a half months of 2014, IED tactics, which include suicide and complex attacks, have killed 190 civilians in Afghanistan, a 14 per cent increase from the same period last year.

UNAMA extends its condolences to the families of all of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery for the injured.

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