ASADABAD, Afghanistan, Dec 24 (Reuters) - A woman carrying a waistcoat filled with explosives under her all-enveloping burqa was arrested on Monday in eastern Afghanistan, provincial officials said, in the first possible reported case of a female suicide bomber in the country.
She was arrested on a tip-off in Jalalabad after being followed by intelligence department officials near the border with Pakistan.
The elderly woman’s identity was not given, but she was now being questioned, officials said.
It was not immediately clear if the woman wanted to use the explosives herself or was carrying the bomb to deliver it.
If the former, she would be the first reported female suicide bomber in Afghanistan where hundreds of people, many of them civilians, have been killed this year alone in such attacks.
Despite the overthrow in 2001 of the Taliban -- who forced women to wear the all enveloping burqa whenever outdoors -- most women still wear it.
Security checkpoints in Afghanistan are usually manned only by men who are not supposed to check women for fear of offending their modesty.
Afghanistan has seen steady rise in violence in the past two years, the bloodiest period since Taliban’s ouster.
In the latest reported violence, two civilians were killed, after they tried to retrieve the bodies of two men who were beheaded on Sunday by suspected Taliban insurgents in the southern province of Kandahar, a provincial official said. (Writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by David Fox and Sanjeev Miglani)