Deadly blast at Afghan bird fight

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iol pic wld Afghanistan~7 AP File image - An Afghan policeman stands guard at the scene of a bomb attack in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kandahar, Afghanistan - A bomb exploded among spectators at a bird fight in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing a teenager and wounding up to eight other people, police said.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was launched against a “gambling match where local police were present”.

Gambling on animals forced to fight - from quail and roosters to camels, rams and bulls - is popular in Afghanistan but was banned by the Taliban during their rule from 1996-2001.

The motorcycle-bomb exploded at a bird fighting pit in the Greshk district of restive Helmand province where a crowd of more than 100 people had gathered to watch the regular match, said local police chief Shadi Khan.

“The explosion has killed a 13-year-old boy and wounded eight other people, all of them innocent civilians,” he said.

In 2008 a suicide blast hit a crowd of men watching dog fighting in neighbouring Kandahar province, killing up to 80 people and wounding dozens more.

The Taliban have been waging an insurgency against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai since being ousted in a US-led invasion in 2001. - Sapa-AFP


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