Bomb blasts target civilians in eastern Afghanistan

Published 21.08.2019 00:04

The number of people wounded in multiple bomb blasts in the Afghan city of Jalalabad has risen to 123, officials said yesterday, a day after 14 bombs exploded in public squares, markets and outside restaurants in the eastern city. No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but both Daesh and the Taliban operate in the area, which borders Pakistan. Gulzada Sangar, a government health official in Jalalabad, said no deaths were reported in the blasts, which struck as the country marked the 100th anniversary of its independence.

Last week, a Daesh suicide attack on a crowded Kabul wedding hall killed 63 people. The blast came at a greatly uncertain time in Afghanistan as the U.S. and the Taliban appear close to a deal on ending the war. The Taliban and the U.S. are trying to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government. Both sides have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late last year.

Under the expected deal on a staggered withdrawal of U.S. troops, the Taliban would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to expand and plot new attacks, both sides have said. The government has not been involved in the negotiations as the Taliban refuse to talk to an administration they see as a "U.S. puppet," but the militants are expected to make a commitment to open power-sharing talks and agree to a cease-fire. The government insists a cease-fire must be part of any deal.

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