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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Worst Blast Ever Hits Afghanistan

MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan -- A suicide attack on a parliamentary delegation killed at least 50 people in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, a provincial official said, in the worst such blast in the country's history.

Five members of the Afghan parliament were among the dead, and the toll was expected to rise. Schoolchildren were also among the victims in the town of Baghlan in the north of the country, which had so far escaped the worst of Afghanistan's worsening violence.

"We have recorded 50 people dead so far, but there are still bodies on the streets we have not counted and some of the dead have already been taken away by their relatives," Baghlan security chief Abdurrahman Sayedkhail said.

A spokesman for the Taliban said the group was not behind the attack. The Taliban have killed over 200 people this year in suicide bombings aimed at ousting the pro-Western government and driving out foreign troops.

The bomber was on foot and blew himself up as schoolchildren lined up to welcome the parliamentary delegation on a visit to a sugar factory in Baghlan. Large crowds had also turned out to greet the deputies, on an economic fact-finding mission.

Opposition spokesman Mostafa Kazemi and four other parliamentary deputies were killed.

"The bomber got very close to the delegation as they were being greeted. He got very close to Mostafa Kazemi and blew himself up," Sayedkhail said.