A suicide car bomber killed 18 people in Afghanistan on Saturday and fighting between militants and security forces left at least 36 people dead on the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, officials said.
“A suicide car bomb in Khost province has killed 18 people and wounded six others, including two children,” Interior Ministry Deputy Spokesman Najib Danish said on Twitter.
Danish said the target was a group of guards providing security for US forces in Khost but most of the victims were civilians.
But at a local hospital, doctors received at least 14 dead bodies and eight wounded people, said Gul Mohammaddin Mangal, head of the public health department in Khost.
“The bodies are not recognizable and it is hard to say if they are civilians or security forces,” he said.
In the northwestern province of Badghis, militants attacked security forces in Qadis district, sparking fighting that killed 22 insurgents, six security forces, and eight civilians, said Zahir Bahand a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The fighting also left 33 militants and 17 civilians wounded, he said.
The Western-backed Afghan government is battling both Taliban and ISIS jihadists around the country.
Taliban forces have increased their attacks in the weeks before Ramadan, with a string of strikes in Kandahar, Paktia, and Helmand, among other provinces.
On Friday, at least 15 Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban fighters attacked their base in Kandahar, in the third major insurgent assault this week on the military in the southern province.