Blast outside sports stadium packed with onlookers kills at least 14 Afghans

Afghan men carry a wounded man into a hospital following a car bomb in Lashkar Gah the capital of Helmand province on March 23, 2018. (AFP / NOOR MOHAMMAD)
Updated 23 March 2018

Blast outside sports stadium packed with onlookers kills at least 14 Afghans

KABUL: A major explosion at an entrance of a sports stadium, packed with hundreds of Afghans, killed 14 people on Friday in the southern city of Lashkargah, officials said.
They could not immediately say what caused the blast, some suspected it was triggered by a car bomb.
Hundreds of locals had gathered to watch a wrestling match when the explosion went off in the evening local time, officials and locals said.
A spokesman for Helmand’s governor, Omar Zwak said 14 people had lost their lives and over 40 were wounded.
“It was a heart-wrenching event, with people shouting and yelling as it took a while for the ambulance to arrive to the scene,” Ahmad Shah an eyewitness said by phone from Lashkargah, the provincial capital of Helmand, which is part of the Taliban’s stronghold.
Images on several TV stations showed a giant flame and plume of smoke rising from outside the stadium where some local officials were amongst the onlookers, residents said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack which came a day after the killing of 33 civilians in a suicide attack in Kabul where people celebrated Naw Rouz, the first day of the country’s new year.
Most of the victims in Kabul’s attack, claimed by Daesh, were Shias.
President Ashraf Ghani in a statement condemned the attack, adding “terrorists” can deter Afghans from marking their religious and national events.
The attack in Lashkargah came just as Afghans elsewhere celebrated a rare historical flash news over the country’s cricket players winning a game abroad, allowing them to contest for the first time in an international cricket match set for next year.
“The violence is non-stop here. We can not even enjoy our victories and events,” Fazl Ahmad a Kabul resident told the Arab News.
“How long do we have to suffer like this? What is the responsibility of the government and the foreign troops here?” he asked.


Russia says allegations COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe are groundless

Updated 51 min 32 sec ago

Russia says allegations COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe are groundless

  • Moscow’s decision to grant it approval has raised concerns among some experts
  • Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful and some scientists fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety

MOSCOW: Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Wednesday allegations that Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine was unsafe were groundless and driven by competition, the Interfax news agency reported.
President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia had become the first country to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine, after less than two months of human testing.
Moscow’s decision to grant it approval has raised concerns among some experts. Only about 10% of clinical trials are successful and some scientists fear Moscow may be putting national prestige before safety.