Roadside bomb kills prison doctors in Afghan capital

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KABUL (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed at least five prison doctors and health workers in the Afghan capital on Tuesday while they were on their way to the country's largest jail, officials said.

The Taliban said they were not involved in the attack as the five were on their way to the sprawling Pul-i-Charkhi prison housing hundreds of prisoners, including scores of Taliban insurgents.

There has been a rising number of killings by small, magnetic bombs placed under vehicles, many blamed on the Taliban despite peace talks aimed at ending two decades of war.

Three doctors, two of them women, working to control the spread of the coronavirus in the jail were among the dead, said Masooma Jafari, a spokeswoman for the health ministry.

"It is saddening and far from expectations today the enemy of humanity targeted our health workers, who are known as peace-keepers," said Jafri.

After decades of war, Afghanistan's public health system has been overwhelmed by casualties from the violence and a rising number of COVID-19 infections.

Afghanistan has reported 16 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours.

(Reporting by Orooj Hakimi, Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Editing by Rupam Jain and Nick Macfie)