Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Friday, 5 February 2010

Afghanistan dog fight hit by deadly bomb blast


A bomb attack on a dog fight in southern Afghanistan has killed at least three people and injured at least 30 more, police say.

The bomb was on a motorcycle parked near the crowd watching the fight in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

The Taliban banned dog fighting while in power but it has returned as a popular sport after the regime fell.

Helmand is a Taliban stronghold that is set to be targeted by a new offensive by Afghan and Western forces.

One eyewitness told the BBC that the blast occurred on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, Helmand's capital, in a dusty clearing often used for dog fighting.

Helmand's deputy police chief said the bomb was detonated as the crowd gathered to watch the fight.

The head of the provincial health directorate, Anayatullah Ghafari, told Agence France-Presse news agency that 18 children were among the wounded.

Two years ago more than 80 people were killed when a dog fight was bombed in Kandahar.

An increasing number of international forces are heading south to take part in the forthcoming anti-Taliban operation. No date has yet been set.

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