KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide attacker blew up his sport utility vehicle packed with explosives outside of a small medical clinic in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing at least 35 people, Afghan authorities said. Initial reports had put the death toll as high as 60.
The widely varying estimates of the number of killed and wounded in the bombing in the mountainous Azra district of Logar province, 25 miles east of Kabul, reflect the chaos that frequently follows such an attack.
The Afghan Health Ministry initially said in a statement that some 60 people were killed and 120 wounded. But at a later news conference, ministry official Abdullah Fahim told reporters those figures were wrong, and said new information put the toll at between 13 and 25 killed and 50 wounded.
Din Mohammad Darwesh, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said 25 people were killed and more than 40 wounded in the blast. The different tolls could not be immediately reconciled.
The bomber drove up to the medical clinic in an SUV, and clinic guards tried to prevent him from entering the center's compound, said Mohammad Zaref Nayebkhail, the provincial health director. "The driver didn't stop and he entered the compound and reached the main building of the health center, where the truck detonated," Nayebkhail said.
The force of the blast caused the building housing the 10-bed clinic to collapse, trapping at least 15 people underneath the rubble. People were frantically scouring the rubble in search of bodies and survivors, he said.
Nayebkhail said the clinic had recently been expanded to meet the health needs of the far-flung district's population. An emergency response team of nurses, doctors and other provincial officials was to fly by helicopter to the area to help search for survivors in the rubble of the remote clinic, he said.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the bombing. Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the movement, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that "this attack was not done by our fighters."
Late Friday, another blast — this one caused by a bicycle rigged with explosives — ripped through a bazaar in the Khanabad district of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 10 people, including a police officer. At least 24 people were wounded in the attack, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
Also, NATO said an alliance service member was killed in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan Saturday. NATO did not release any other details about the death.
The death brings to 47 the number of NATO service members killed in June and more than 200 killed this year.
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