Afghanistan revises down death toll from market attack to 43

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 16, 2014 9:47 AM

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan on Wednesday revised down the casualty figure from a car bomb attack in the eastern province of Paktika to 43 from 89, saying at least 74 people had been wounded.

A car packed with explosives detonated on Tuesday as it sped through a crowded market in northern Paktika, killing scores of people as it tried to escape from a police vehicle chasing it.

The Defence Ministry put the death toll at 89 at the time but the Health Ministry said a day later that 43 people had been killed. It gave no reason for the revision.

The explosion took place not far from the porous border with Pakistan's North Waziristan region, where the military has been attacking hideouts of the Pakistani Taliban in the past few weeks, prompting militants to retreat toward Afghanistan.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack as a "despicable criminal act", his spokesman said.

The Taliban have distanced themselves from the attack. The movement's leaders have ordered militants not to target civilians.

(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni, Writing by Maria Golovnina; Editing by Kevin Liffey)