You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

12 killed in suicide attack on Afghan security forces: Officials

AFP  |  Jalalabad 

A suicide attacker blew himself up near an Afghan security forces vehicle today, killing at least 12 people, mostly civilians, officials said, in the latest deadly violence to rock the country.

The explosion in the eastern city of also left at least five people wounded and set a nearby petrol station alight, the provincial governor's told AFP.

Some of the victims were brought to hospital with severe burns, said, confirming the casualty toll.

"I saw a big ball of fire that threw people away. The people were burning," Esmatullah, who witnessed the incident, told AFP.

Tolo posted a purportedly showing several burned-out vehicles and gutted shops at the scene of the attack.

The Islamic State group claimed the attack via its propaganda agency -- the latest carried out by the extremists in restive province, which borders

IS has claimed a series of high-casualty suicide bomb attacks in the province in recent weeks, as US and Afghan forces continue offensive operations against the group.

While the is Afghanistan's largest militant group, IS has a relatively small but potent presence mainly in the east and north of the country.

Today's attack comes a day after US expressed "hope" for peace talks between the and Taliban, during an unannounced visit to Pompeo's first trip to since he was sworn in as America's top in April came amid renewed optimism for peace in the war-weary country, following last month's unprecedented ceasefire by the and during Eid.

The Islamic holiday was marked by spontaneous street celebrations involving Afghan security forces and militants, raising hopes peace was possible after 17 years of war.

"An element of the progress is the capacity that we now have to believe that there is now hope," Pompeo told a joint press conference with Afghan

"Many of the Taliban now see that they can't win on the ground militarily. That's very deeply connected to Trump's strategy," he said, referring to Trump's much-vaunted policy announced last August.

The ceasefire did not extend to the IS franchise in Afghanistan, which first emerged in the country in 2014 and established a stronghold in before spreading north.

The most recent major attack in on July 1 saw 19 people killed and 21 wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus.

The group had been waiting to meet Ghani, who was visiting the city, when the bomber struck. That came after two separate suicide attacks in during the ceasefire that were also claimed by IS.

Violence is expected to continue ahead of Afghanistan's long-delayed legislative elections on October 20 that militants have vowed to disrupt.

Afghan security forces, already struggling to beat back the Taliban and IS on the battlefield, will be responsible for protecting polling stations, many of which will be located in schools.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, July 10 2018. 16:15 IST