11 Afghans killed in suicide attack claimed by Islamic State

A suicide attack claimed by the militant organization Islamic State has killed 11 Afghan civilians including at least one child, and wounded 13 others in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

suicide

AFP |

A suicide bomber targeted a police checkpoint Thursday in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 13 others, an official said.

The Afghan arm of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was committed by an assailant on foot, said Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province.

This city near the border with Pakistan had largely been spared from attacks and fighting, mainly with IS, in far-flung parts of the surrounding province.

There was at least one child among the fatalities, while three others were wounded.

The area around Jalalabad is home to fighters from both the Taliban and the IS group’s Afghan affiliate. Last month, three blasts in rapid succession in the center of Jalalabad left three people dead and 20 wounded.

Until then, this city near the border with Pakistan had largely been spared from attacks and fighting, mainly with IS, in far-flung parts of the surrounding province.

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However, in March, at least 16 civilians were killed in a suicide bombing followed by gunfire targeting a construction company near the city’s airport. The Taliban said they were not behind that attack.

https://twitter.com/Afghanmedia2/status/1139162732819865602

US-Taliban Resolution still Far Off

A wave of violence across Afghanistan in recent weeks has claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and security forces. After 18 years of conflict, the Taliban are in negotiations with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad for some sort of peace settlement.

A resolution still seems far off, with the two sides struggling to agree on several key points. Khalilzad is in the country now meeting with political leaders and members of civil society in the hope of launching intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban.

A suicide bomber targeted a police checkpoint Thursday in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, killing at least 11 people and wounding 13 others, an official said.

The EU envoy for Afghanistan, Roland Kobia, is also here to support the process. In a gesture of goodwill, the government announced Thursday it has released 490 Taliban prisoners who are ill or have less than a year left to serve.

They are among 887 prisoners that President Ashraf Ghani promised to free in early June as he marked the end of Ramadan.

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Khalilzad is due to travel to Qatar in coming days for a new round of talks with the Taliban.

Hikmat Khalil Karzai, Chairman of Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies and Former Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister, tweeted, “I had a detailed discussion with Ambassador Khalilzad on a series of issues including his upcoming visit to Doha, US Taliban negotiations, Afghan Taliban dialogue/negotiations.  Our efforts will continue till bloodshed stops and a durable peace becomes a reality.”

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The goal of the negotiations is to set a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops in exchange for a Taliban pledge to keep the country from being used as a staging ground for terror attacks.

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US using Daesh as Instrument?

The Taliban issued an official statement, through their website Al Emarah, to debunk the statements of US Commander of Central Command in Afghanistan, General Frank McKenzie, with regards to the presence of Daesh, the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, in Afghanistan.

After 18 years of conflict, the Taliban are in negotiations with US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad for some sort of peace settlement.

The statement noted that America has supported the “so-called Daesh mischief” since the day of its emergence in Afghanistan, and regarded the terror organization as an insignificant entity that can be regarded as a threat. The Taliban stressed that they have strongly resisted the attacks of Daesh, and “purged many parts of the county from this miscreant”.

However, it accused the Kabul-led government and the US occupation forces of supporting Daesh. The statement read, “However, with aerial support of American invaders and intelligence assistance of Kabul administration a small group of Daesh still exists in some parts of eastern Afghanistan.”

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Referring to the region of Nangarhar, the Taliban state, “Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate have just launched operations against Daesh in Nangarhar province to rescue the oppressed people from the evil of Daesh, but American invaders and their local puppets bomb Mujahideen military lines from time to time and carry out raids to create opposition to prevent full eradication of Daesh evildoers and provide it an opportunity of taking breath.”

Accusing the “American generals” of creating hurdles in the Taliban-led operations to eliminate Daesh, the statement noted, “Their (US) occupation is practically providing Daesh aground in Afghanistan and they are using its name and existence as an instrument.”

AFP with additional research and input by News Desk. 

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