Bomber kills dozens at Afghan match

Nov 24, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
Afghan residents walk along a street in Kabul on November 23, 2014.
AFP/Getty Images

A suicide bomber has killed at least 45 people at a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan, officials say. The BBC writes:

A spokesman for the governor of Paktika province told the BBC that the attacker had detonated the bomb amid a crowd of people gathering for a game. About 60 people were also wounded in the bombing in Yahyakhail district.

It came after Afghan MPs approved security deals allowing Nato and US soldiers to remain after the withdrawal of most foreign troops next month. The total number of soldiers in the new Nato force will be about 12,000.

Their mission has been defined as training, advising and assisting the Afghan security forces. There will also be a separate US-led force dealing with the remnants of al-Qaeda.

It emerged on Saturday, however, that President Barack Obama has approved guidelines to allow US troops to fight the Taliban and provide air support for Afghan missions.

The Taliban and other jihadist militants have unleashed waves of suicide attacks in Afghanistan this year as foreign forces pull out after 13 years of war. Reuters writes:

About 12,000 international troops will remain in Afghanistan next year to train and support Afghanistan's security forces. Paktika was the site of one of this year's deadliest attacks in July, when 89 people were killed by a bomb in a crowded market.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach condemned the "cowardly" attack. "It is an attack on sport itself and on the positive values it can bring to help build strong communities and foster peace and reconciliation around the world," he said in a statement.

The Taliban banned public sports events as un-Islamic during their five-year rule before the 2001 U.S.-led intervention that toppled them from power after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. cities.