August 19, 2019
A series of explosions have hit the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar during the country’s 100th anniversary of its independence, wounding dozens of people including women and children.
Afghan officials said at least 10 bombings struck restaurants and public squares in the provincial capital of Jalalabad on Monday, leaving at least 66 people injured.
“The explosions were caused by IEDs in different parts of the city and as groups of people were celebrating independence day,” Nangarhar governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said, referring to improvised explosive devices.
Health officials said 22 children were among the injured.
No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility for the blasts but both the Taliban militants and the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group are actively operating in the area.
In an Independence Day address in Kabul, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the international community to stand with Afghanistan to eradicate the “nest” of militants.
“Our fight against the Daesh will continue,” Ghani said. “The Taliban have laid the foundation for such brutal killings.”
This year’s celebrations, held on August 19, marked 100 years of Afghan independence from British influence.
The Monday bombings came a day after a deadly bomb attack claimed by Daesh left at least 63 people dead and scores of others injured in a wedding ceremony in Kabul.
The attacks came as the Taliban and the United States are in the final stages of a deal to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan.
The possible agreement is to be reached in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with the Afghan government.
Ghani, whose administration has been left out of the talks, said last week that only Afghans had to decide their fate, and not outside powers even if they were allies. The president said peace was only possible with an agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The Taliban militant group, which now controls or has influence in about half of Afghanistan’s territory, has held several rounds of direct talks with US officials in the Qatari capital since October. The militants say they do not recognize the government in Kabul.
The ongoing negotiations take place nearly 18 years after the US military invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a ruling Taliban regime.
About 20,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, are based in Afghanistan. The exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan is a condition set by the Taliban to extend the talks.