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Five U.A.E. Diplomats Among Dead In Kandahar Explosion

Afghan security officials stand guard outside the government guesthouse after a bomb blast in Kandahar.

The government of the United Arab Emirates says that five of its diplomats were killed in a bombing in the Afghan city of Kandahar on January 10.

Afghan officials say a total of 13 people were killed and 18 were injured in the explosion, which occurred at a guesthouse during a meeting between U.A.E. diplomats -- including the ambassador -- and senior provincial officials.

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In a statement on January 11, the U.A.E. government said that the diplomats were carrying out humanitarian, educational, and development work in Afghanistan.

Authorities said the bomb was planted in a sofa and exploded when Ambassador Juma Mohammed Abdullah al-Kaabi and Kandahar Governor Hamayoon Azizi had stepped out of the room.

Both were injured, and many of the victims were burned beyond recognition.

U.A.E. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nayyan ordered flags flown at half-staff and three days of official mourning.

The attack occurred hours after twin bomb blasts rocked an area near the Afghan parliament in Kabul, the capital, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens of others. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

The Taliban has denied involvement in the Kandahar bombing, and authorities said it may have been a result of local rivalries.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters