Second attack during Afghan truce kills 14

The bomber on Saturday targeted a gathering of Taliban fighters who were celebrating a three-day truce coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
The bomber on Saturday targeted a gathering of Taliban fighters who were celebrating a three-day truce coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Photo credit: AAP

A suicide bomber has struck in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad, killing at least 14 people in the second attack in as many days targeting Taliban fighters, security forces and civilians celebrating a holiday cease-fire.

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said another 45 people were wounded in the attack, which struck a crowd of people as they left the governor's compound.

Saturday's attack, which also took place in Jalalabad, killed at least 36 people and wounded 65.

No one has claimed the attacks, but they appear to be the work of the Islamic State group, which is not included in the cease-fire and has clashed with the Taliban in the past. The local IS affiliate has a strong presence in the province.

The bomber on Saturday targeted a gathering of Taliban fighters who were celebrating a three-day truce coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

After the attack, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a nine-day extension of the cease-fire.

The chairman of the High Peace Council, a government body charged with negotiating an end to the nearly 17-year war, has called on the Taliban to accept the extended cease-fire and join the peace process.

The Taliban have steadily expanded their presence in recent years, seizing a number of districts across the country and carrying out near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces.

But over the past two days Taliban fighters could be seen celebrating the truce alongside Afghan troops and other people in a number of locations.

Taliban leaders have at different times expressed interest in holding peace talks to end the conflict. But they have refused to meet with the US-backed government, saying they will only negotiate with the United States directly. They have also demanded the withdrawal of all foreign forces.

Reuters