Twin blasts in Afghan province of Bamiyan kill 14 people, injure 45 - officials


KABUL (Reuters) - Twin explosions in the central Afghan province of Bamiyan killed at least 14 people and wounded 45 more, provincial officials said on Tuesday, as the international community pledged assistance for Afghanistan at a conference in Switzerland.

The two bombs, hidden at the side of a road in a main bazaar in Bamiyan city, killed 12 civilians and two traffic policemen, said Zabardast Safai, the police chief of the province.

The other 45 people injured were mostly from a nearby restaurant and shops, Safai added.

Dozens of nations began pledging billions of dollars in aid for Afghanistan at the conference in Geneva on Tuesday, hoping that peace negotiations recently begun between the government and the Taliban will end nearly two decades of war.

Bamiyan has been seen as the country's safest province due to its remote location in the central mountains. The dominant local tribe, the Hazara, opposed the Taliban, mostly ethnic Pashtuns who massacred thousands of Hazara during their rule.

The Taliban, which has been waging an insurgency against the foreign-backed Kabul administration since being toppled in late 2001, denied involvement in the bombings.

Hazaras are mostly Shi'ite Muslims. Minority Shi'ites have been repeatedly attacked by Sunni militants, especially Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan.

Nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of this year as heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents rages on despite efforts to find peace, according to the United Nations.

(Reporting by Kabul Bureau, Writing by Hamid Shalizi, Editing by Catherine Evans)

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