Afghan official: Suicide bombing in eastern city of Khost kills 16, wounds 40



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KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber attacked an anti-corruption demonstration in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing 16 people and wounding 40, an official said.

The explosion in the eastern city of Khost wounded a local member of parliament, Hamayun Hamayoon, according to Mubarez Mohammed Zadran, the governor's spokesman.

Khost is a volatile province along the border with Pakistan where the Taliban have an entrenched, long-term presence. In recent months, hundreds of thousands of people have arrived in the province fleeing a Pakistani army offensive against Taliban positions across the border.

Earlier on Thursday, the police chief of a restive district in the country's south was killed by a roadside bomb.

Hikmatullah Akmal was heading toward a Taliban attack on a checkpoint in Gereshk district when the bomb planted by insurgents struck his vehicle, according to Helmand provincial police chief Nabi Jan Malakhail.

A major military operation is underway to drive Taliban insurgents from the poppy-rich valley of the Helmand River.

The insurgents, fighting to protect supply routes and a major source of funding from the opium produced in the province, have stepped up attacks on police checkpoints and other government targets.

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