PULI ALAM, Afghanistan: At least 13 people, including women and children, were killed in an explosion yesterday as Taliban militants prepared a car bomb in southern Afghanistan, officials said.
The explosives detonated prematurely as they were being placed in a car in a house in Puli Alam, the capital of Logar province, deputy provincial police chief Abdul Wali Toofan said.
“Nine Taliban, including Pakistanis, plus two women and two children were killed,” he said. “They wanted to fill the car with explosives and detonate it in a busy part of the city, but it exploded in their house.”
Din Mohammad Darvish, the Logar provincial spokesman, said that the house was destroyed by the blast and no one inside had survived. He added that the Taliban were probably planning to use the car bomb to disrupt the election campaign or to target polling day on April 5.
Afghan forces are responsible for security during the election as NATO-led combat troops complete their withdrawal from the country by the end of the year.
Direct air link
LAHORE: Pakistan’s last direct air link with Central Asian states was broken after Uzbekistan Airways suspended its Lahore operation for an indefinite period.
No other foreign or local airline is operating direct flights to and from any of the Central Asian states, thus forcing passengers bound for the region to take connecting flights from the Gulf.
Uzbekistan Airways, which suspended its Lahore-Tashkent operation recently, has not offered any reason for the decision on its website. However, official sources said that mutual visa restrictions between Uzbekistan and Pakistan had lowered the passenger volume, thus leaving the airline with no other choice but to wind up operations in Pakistan.
“That there have been some instances of Pakistanis slipping away into Uzbekistan is one of the main reasons for the visa restriction imposed by the Uzbek government,” a source in the foreign ministry said.