"--IANS/EFE"
Kabul, July 16 (IANS/EFE) The Afghan defence ministry Wednesday lowered the toll in Tuesday's suicide car bomb attack on a crowded market in southeastern Afghanistan from 89 to 42 and raised the number of wounded from 42 to 67.

Defence ministry deputy spokesperson Dawlat Waziri told Efe news agency that the drastic reduction in the number of deaths was due to the fact that many of the victims taken to hospital were so severely injured that they seemed dead.

We moved more than 100 people between dead and injured. Many of them were found seriously injured, so we could not know if they were alive or not... At the end some of them recovered, said Waziri.

The director of the region's Civil Hospital, Rahim Shah, also told the local news agency Pajhwok 42 people were killed and 70 injured.

He also warned that fatalities could rise since 25 people were in critical condition.

Most of the victims were in the market shopping at noon during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan when the vehicle packed with explosives went off.

Despite the fall in the number of deaths, the attack is still one of the worst in Afghanistan in recent years.

Sixty-two people were killed in two assaults against the Shia minority in 2011 and 41 others lost their lives in another suicide attack in 2012.

Afghanistan is going through one of its bloodiest periods since 2013, when Afghan forces took control of security due to the scheduled withdrawal of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF will conclude its mission in Afghanistan at the end of this year, but Washington has announced that it would maintain around 9,800 troops in the country until its complete exit at the end of 2016.

--IANS/EFE

ab/vm


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