IOC condemns suicide bomb at volleyball tournament

Provincial spokesman said at least 50 more were wounded in the attack in Paktia province while watching the tournament

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The president of the International Olympic committee has condemned the suicide attack on a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan which killed at least 45 people on Sunday.

Dozens more were wounded when a bomber, who was on foot and mingling with the crowd, detonated his explosives during an inter-district volleyball tournament attended by large crowds.

“This was cowardly attack and I speak for the whole Olympic Movement in condemning this barbaric act which targeted innocent spectators at a sports tournament,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement.

“It is an attack on sport itself and on the positive values it can bring to help build strong communities and foster peace and reconciliation around the world. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we wish those injured a speedy recovery.”

The attack happened in Yahyakhail district of Paktika province.

Paktika, bordering Pakistan, is one of Afghanistan's most volatile regions, a place where Taliban and affiliated insurgent groups like the Haqqani network are waging an intensifying war against the government in Kabul.

Volleyball is a popular sport in Afghanistan, played across the country, and the attacker is likely to have targeted the event to ensure maximum casualties.

“Our immediate thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who have lost loved ones in this tragic incident,” the International Volleyball Federation said. “It is not appropriate for the FIVB to comment further until the relevant authorities have fully investigated the causes and details behind the bombing.

“We will be monitoring the situation very carefully and are in touch with the national federation for regular updates.”

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