KABUL: A suicide bomber has killed at least 25 people in the eastern province of Nangarhar by blowing himself up at a gathering of Taliban and government armed forces.
The deadly blast on June 16, which Islamic State (IS) militants claimed responsibility for, occurred around the time Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was announcing an extension of the cease-fire with the Taliban and urged the militant group to extend its cease-fire as well.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, told that at least 54 others were also injured in the explosion. Some of those were in critical condition, Khogyani said, adding that it was not clear how many Taliban members were killed or injured.
“Unfortunately, about 20 people — including civilians and Afghan Taliban members who were celebrating a cease-fire — were killed in the attack and around 16 other people were injured,” Khogyani said.
The IS-affiliated news agency Amaq said the extremist group had claimed responsibility for the attack. Nangarhar Province is the main base of IS militants in Afghanistan.
The Taliban, which had announced a surprise three-day cease-fire over the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, denied responsibility.
on June 16 televised address announcing an extension of the government’s cease-fire, Ghani said he was prepared to discuss Taliban demands, including the status of foreign forces in Afghanistan in the future.
“I order the security forces to remain on their defensive positions,” Ghani said, adding that details of the extension would be released later.
The government’s truce, which that started on June 12 and excludes the IS extremist group and Al-Qaeda, had been set to end on June 19.
Ghani also urged the Taliban to extend its three-day cease-fire, which was set to end on June 17.