KABUL: Daesh claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that killed more than a dozen Afghans at an entrance to a government ministry in Kabul on Monday, less than a day before the beginning of a truce by Kabul with the Taliban insurgents.
Women were among the casualties, Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai told reporters. The Public Health Ministry said that 13 employees of the Ministry of Rural Development were killed and 25 wounded when the bomber let off explosives as officials left for home at the end of a fasting day. The toll could go higher, one official said.
“Some had just received their salaries and were heading home to purchase goods for Eid,” Ahmad Saleem, a ministry official, told Arab News. “This attack turned their happiness into mourning.”
The strike came hours after four assailants, one of them a suicide bomber, tried to storm the Department of Education in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
A group of civilians were wounded in that attack, which was foiled by security forces, government officials said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the Jalalabad attack, but Daesh on its Amaq website said that it was behind the Kabul one, which occurred less than a day before the enforcement of a week-long truce, starting on Tuesday, by the government with the Taliban insurgents.
President Ashraf Ghani traveled on Monday to the southern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, where he is expected to declare the beginning of the cease-fire tomorrow, officials said.The truce does not cover Daesh and other foreign militant networks.
The Taliban, the main insurgent group, also pledged to observe a truce during the three days of the key Muslim religious festival, Eid Al-Fitr, likely to fall on Friday, but has vowed to continue its attacks against US-led troops.The desire of both sides to observe a truce is the first of its kind since the current conflict started in late 2001 with the ousting of the Taliban in a US-led attack. The US, which leads the war against the insurgents, has pledged to observe the government’s terms of truce with the Taliban only.
But the two parties have been locked in heavy clashes in various parts of the country ahead of the enforcement of the planned cease-fire. Over a dozen Afghan security forces were killed in Taliban attacks overnight in northern Kunduz province, where days back nearly 20 other government combatants, in addition to several dozen others, lost their lives elsewhere in the country.