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'Deadliest Day' This Year as Afghanistan Violence Spikes

Violent trend continues as at least 54 killed in series of coordinated attacks

Common Dreams staff

A seemingly unrelated grenade attack on Wednesday at a mosque in Khost comes a day after a deadly series of suicide bombings and shootings took place across Afghanistan on Tuesday killing more than 54 people in the southwestern part of the country.

The most deadly attack on Tuesday occurred in Zaranj, the capital of Nimroz province, where coordinated suicide bombers targeted a market and then subsequently bombed the entrance to a hospital where victims from the first attack were seeking medical help.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul on Tuesday's attacks, said they "mark[ed] the deadliest day for Afghan civilians so far this year".

"This was a group of 11 attackers who wanted to conduct simultaneous attacks across the city," deputy provincial police chief Mujibullah Latifi told the AFP news agency.

Two of the attackers were killed by security forces Monday night, according to reports, and three others had been detained Tuesday morning.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Most of those killed in the triple suicide bombing in Nimruz province, in southwestern Afghanistan, and a remote-controlled blast in Kunduz province in the north were people out shopping for their nightly iftar, the meal that breaks the dawn-to-dusk fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and for the holiday feast beginning this weekend that marks Ramadan's end.

And The Guardian adds:

The UN said this week that civilian casualties were around 5% higher in July than the same month of 2011. They had declined in the first half of the year but officials described the fall as a "hollow trend" linked to an exceptionally harsh winter, rather than evidence of improved security.

A rising toll in recent months would broadly fit with security data from the Nato-led coalition, which said that between April and June Taliban attacks on foreign and Afghan forces rose 11% from a year earlier.

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