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Second suicide attack strikes eastern Afghanistan

June 16, 2018

Several people have been killed in a second suicide bombing in as many days in eastern Afghanistan during celebrations for Eid al-Fitr. A ceasefire between the Afghan government and militants has entered its third day.

Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces hugged and took selfies with each other in restive eastern Afghanistan
Image: Getty Images/AFP/N. Shirzada

Eastern Afghanistan witnessed two suicide bomb attacks over the weekend, as as officials and Taliban fighters marked a three-day ceasefire at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

On Saturday, a suicide car bomber blew himself up in the city of Jalalabad, in Nangarhar province, killing 36 people and wounding another 65.

At least 10 people were killed in a separate blast outside the provincial governor's office in Jalalabad on Sunday, which again targeted those gathering to mark the temporary truce.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had announced a separate eight-day ceasefire with the Taliban on Tuesday, which he extended on Saturday. Ghani asked the Taliban to reciprocate by extending its truce. 

Read more: Ghani announces ceasefire with Taliban for Eid al-Fitr 

A spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar confirmed a car bomb was responsible for Saturday's attack in the town of Ghazi Aminullah Khan. He had earlier said a rocket-propelled grenade had been used.

A Taliban fighter told the AFP news agency that, while he welcomed the ceasefire, long-lasting peace would only be achieved if US forces left the country.

"We want an Islamic country and government. This cannot happen unless America leaves [Afghanistan]," he said.

The "Islamic State" (IS) militant group said it carried out Saturday's attack which targeted "a gathering of Afghan forces," according to the group's Amaq news agency.

Read more: Calls to rethink German refugee policy on Afghanistan   

Taliban fighters celebrating a truce on the second day of Eid
Taliban fighters celebrating a truce on the second day of EidImage: Getty Images/AFP/N. Shirzada

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kw/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)