A suicide bomber killed at least 17 people and wounded 50 others in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province Thursday.

A spokesman for the provincial governor told VOA that the bomber struck a rally being staged against alleged corrupt practices of the provincial government.

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An Afghan lawmaker, Homayoun Homayoun, is among those wounded. Civil society activists and some lawmakers have been leading the anti-government protests that erupted a week ago in Khost, which borders Pakistan.

A spokesman for the Taliban has said it has nothing to do with the Khost blast.

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Meanwhile, a roadside bomb in violence-plagued southern Helmand province killed a district police chief. Local authorities say that Hikmatullah Akmal was on his way to the scene of an early morning Taliban attack in Gereshk district Thursday when his car hit the bomb.

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​The Taliban was ousted from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led military coalition and the Islamist group has since been fighting to dislodge the government in Kabul.