KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide attacker drove a car full of explosives into a crowd leaving an evening wrestling match on Friday in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 14 and wounding 42, according to Afghan government officials.
Omar Zwak, the spokesman for the governor of Helmand Province, said the bomber struck about 7 p.m. at a field in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, where a traditional wrestling match drawing hundreds of spectators had just ended. He said the dead and wounded included many children, and some of the wounded were in critical condition.
Most of the victims were civilians, but some were security officials, said the Helmand governor, Hayatullah Hayat. Mr. Hayat blamed the Taliban for the attack. “The enemy has been beaten up badly by our brave security forces across Helmand Province, and now they are trying to take revenge on civilians,” he said.
Helmand is heavily dominated by the Taliban, and there are no known Islamic State operations in the area. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest bombing, but similar attacks in Lashkar Gah have been attributed to the Taliban.
The bombing came two days after an attack in Kabul claimed by the Islamic State, and aimed at a Shiite shrine; 33 died there in the latest count, according to police in Kabul.
According to Abdul Razaq, one of the spectators, the matches had ended and spectators joined in the evening prayer before filtering out of the area. Then the car bomb exploded at the gates, where security officials were stationed.