On March 23, a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) exploded outside of Mohammad Ayoub Stadium in the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand, according to the Chinese Xinhua News Agency.
An unnamed health official told Xinhua News Agency that 14 civilians had been killed and more than 50 others had been injured in the SVBIED attack. Afghan sources reported that children had been among the victims.
Helmand governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak told the Afghan TOLO news that the SVBIED had targeted the civilians while they were leaving the stadium after attending a wrestling competition. The event was organized as a part of the celebration of the Afghan new year, that started on March 21, according to Afghan sources.
“The enemies of Afghanistan cannot prevent the celebration of traditional, religious and cultural events in the country,” said Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani in an official statement condemning the brutal attack, according to TOLO.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. However, observers believe that ISIS might be behind the attack, as it targeted a similar celebration that was being held in the Afghan capital of Kabul on March 21.