A car bomb explosion in a bank in the southern Afghan province of Helmand has killed 29 and wounded at least 60 in the latest in a series of attacks against the government.

The explosion occurred just outside the gate of a bank in the city of Lashkar Gar the capital of Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

Civilians and members of the security forces are reportedly among casualties.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Taliban and Islamic State militants have carried out deadly attacks in recent months.

The head of the hospital in Lashkar Gah, Mawladad Tabedar, told BBC Afghan the number of casualties might rise.

Earlier, Tolo News reported that armed attackers had entered the bank and engaged in a gun battle with security forces.

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“It happened at a time when civilians and officials had lined up outside the bank to collect their salaries,” a police spokesman, Salam Afghan, told AFP news agency.

Bank buildings have been repeatedly attacked in recent years in Afghanistan as civilians and military personnel receive their monthly salaries from them.

A spokesman for Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah tweeted that most of the victims were “innocent souls who were shopping for Eid”.

“Their joyful moments turned into nightmare,” Javid Faisal said.

There has been a series of attacks in Afghanistan in recent weeks, since the Taliban launched its so-called spring offensive.

On Sunday, five police officers were killed and about 30 people, most of them civilians, were injured in a suicide bomb attack in the eastern city of Gardez.

On 31 May a huge bombing in central Kabul killed more than 150 people, the deadliest militant attack in the country since US-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in 2001.

Controlling Helmand Province has been a difficult proposition for government forces with armed insurgents from both the Taliban and the Islamic State controlling swaths of territory. No one has yet claimed responsibility but both the Taliban and the IS have carried out terrorist incidents in recent months in the area.

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Photo courtesy Reuters