Blast rocks Afghan city killing at least 12

Blast rocks Afghan city killing at least 12
Afghan security forces inspect the site of a blast in Jalalabad city, Afghanistan, July 1, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 01 July 2018

Blast rocks Afghan city killing at least 12

Blast rocks Afghan city killing at least 12

JALALABAD: An explosion in a city in eastern Afghanistan where President Ashraf Ghani was visiting killed at least 12 people, officials said Sunday, in the latest deadly violence to rock the country.
Provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said a suicide bomber struck a market, killing at least 12 people and wounding 20.
Khogyani told AFP that 10 Afghan Sikhs were among the dead.
The death toll was confirmed by interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish, adding the assault was “most probably” carried out by a suicide bomber.
“I can confirm there are some Afghan Hindus among the wounded and we are checking if they are among the fatalities,” Danish told AFP.
Afghans often use the word Hindus even when talking about Sikhs. Small communities of both faiths reside in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Muslim nation.
Provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal put the death toll at 15.
Afghan officials often give conflicting information in the immediate aftermath of attacks.
Ghani’s spokesman confirmed the president was still in Nangarhar but was “away from danger.”
Ghani arrived in Jalalabad earlier Sunday to open a hospital, part of a two-day visit to the restive province.
The attack came a day after Ghani ordered Afghan security forces to resume offensive operations against the Taliban following the expiration of the government’s 18-day cease-fire.
The government’s unilateral truce overlapped with the Taliban’s three-day cease-fire for Eid, but the militants refused to prolong it.
The unprecedented cease-fire over the holiday capping Ramadan triggered spontaneous street celebrations involving Taliban fighters and security forces.
But it was marred by two suicide attacks in Nangarhar that killed dozens of people and were claimed by the Daesh group, which has a smaller but relatively potent presence in Afghanistan.
Daesh was not part of the cease-fire.