The toll in the suicide bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province increased to 68 on Wednesday, reported Tolo News. At least 128 people were wounded, said the public health directorate. However, some other reports claimed 165 people were injured.

The number of casualties increased from 19 on Tuesday as many critically injured patients died overnight.

The attacker targeted a protest gathering in Mohmand Dara district. Hundreds of people had gathered to block a highway in protest against the appointment of a local police chief, provincial governor spokesperson Ataullah Khogyani said. No terrorist organisation has so far claimed responsibility.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, describing the ongoing “imposed war” as illegitimate. He added that attacks on civilians, their facilities, and members of public is a crime against humanity.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in a statement voiced its concern at the “pattern of attacks targeting civilians and schools”.

“I feel profound indignation at this latest wave of attacks deliberately targeting civilians,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. “The bombings of schools and the killing of children are among the most egregious and repulsive acts of terrorism which violate international humanitarian law.”

This was the deadliest attack in the country since a bomb planted in an ambulance in Kabul killed 103 people in January. The Taliban had claimed responsibility.

Nangarhar province, which is on Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, has been among the country’s most volatile regions this year. Its provincial capital Jalalabad has faced several suicide bombings and attacks.