Blast kills 7 in Afghanistan's Helmand province, Taliban claim responsibility

A file photograph. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Helmand, Afghanistan Feb 11, 2017, 01.58 PM (IST)

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly blast in Afghanistan that killed eight people and wounded 20 others on Saturday, CNN reported.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi sent a text message to journalists, stating the group was behind the early-morning attack in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, CNN further added.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-packed car next to an Afghan army vehicle in the capital city of on Saturday.

The bomberas soldiers had arrived at a bank in Lashkar Gah to collect their pay, the Helmand governor's spokesman, Omar Zwak, told Reuters.

The Taliban have seized large areas of Helmand and have often threatened Lashkar Gah.

Hundreds of international troops are stationed in Helmand as part of the NATO-led effort to train and support Afghan security forces, which have struggled to contain a growing insurgency.

At least one American special forces soldier was wounded in fighting there this week.

To the north of Lashkar Gah, a local official said that an American military airstrike killed a number of civilians in a recent bombing in Sangin district.

The allegation has not been independently verified.

US military spokesman Captain Bill Salvin said that US jets had conducted strikes in Sangin in the past few weeks.

While US forces had "no evidence that civilians were killed in these strikes", Salvin said the command would investigate the claims.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)