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Afghan suicide bombing kills 16

A suicide bomber has attacked a demonstration in an eastern Afghanistan city, killing 16 people and wounding 40, officials said.

Mubarez Mohammed Zadran, a spokesman for the governor of Khost province, said the explosion happened during an anti-corruption demonstration near the centre of the provincial capital of the same name.

Mr Zadran says a local member of parliament, Hamayun Hamayoon, was among the wounded.

Khost is a volatile province along the Pakistan border where the Taliban has 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 today, the police chief of a restive district in the country's south was killed by a roadside bomb.

Hikmatullah Akmal was heading towards 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 under way 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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