A large car bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s Logar province Saturday, collapsing a medical clinic and killing at least 35 people.
The number killed and wounded in the attack was difficult to verify in the resulting chaos, and estimates ranged as high as 60 dead and 125 wounded, according to the Associated Press.
The bomb exploded in Azra district, east of Kabul, after a person in an SUV drove through the entrance of the clinic’s compound and detonated explosives near the main structure. At least 15 people were trapped under the building after it collapsed, according to officials from the country’s health ministry. An Afghan army helicopter carrying rescue crews and medical personnel was dispatched to the area.
The BBC reports that the elderly, women and children were among the casualties, along with doctors and nurses. A Taliban spokesman denied responsibility, telling the BBC, “someone with an agenda” was behind the bombing.
Another bombing late Friday that involved a bicycle rigged with explosives killed 10 and wounded 24 according to Afghanistan's Interior Ministry. The suicide attacks come just days after President Obama announced a drawdown of American troops in the region, with 33,000 coming home by the end of 2012.
Some are concerned that departure of U.S. and NATO forces in the country could undo gains created by a troop surge there, and that the government, currently roiled by corruption investigations, will not be able to address Afghanistan’s security challenges.