At least 14 people have been killed after a suicide bomber struck in Afghanistan's eastern city, Jalalabad. The attack came soon after the beginning of a second round of talks to restore peace in the region.
The carnage on Sunday came during a "jirga" or gathering of tribal leaders at the home of local leader Obaidullah Shinwari, news agency AFP reported. A well-known critic of the "Islamic State" was injured in the strike, according to the spokesman for Nangarhar's governor.
"Fourteen people were killed and 13 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the house of Shinwari," Najibullah Kamawal, the health director of Nangarhar province told journalists. Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar.
The Taliban have denied responsibility for the attack.
Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani condemned the strike and said security forces would use all their strength to find the culprits.
"When terrorists lose the ability to fight face-to-face with our security forces, then they target public places and kill our innocent people," Ghani said in a statement. "The government will fight those who shed the blood of our innocent people," he added.
His office tweeted this message:
Meanwhile, Reuters news agency reported that a rocket had landed near the Italian embassy in Kabul on Sunday. There were no immediate reports for casualties.
Ahead of peace talks
The attacks came shortly before Afghan leaders were to meet with Pakistani mediators and representatives from China and the USA to restore peace in the region. The so-called "roadmap" talks are aimed at laying the groundwork for a lasting peace agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The negotiations, which began last week in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, were overshadowed by an attack on the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad last Wednesday that developed into a four-hour gun and bomb siege. The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) group took responsibility for the strike in which all three attackers and seven troops were killed.
mg/jm (AFP, dpa)