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Suicide-Bomb Blast Kills Dozens In Jalalabad, In Afghan East

  • RFE/RL

The scene in Jalalabad, in Nangarhar Province, after the suicide attack that killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100 others on April 18.

The scene in Jalalabad, in Nangarhar Province, after the suicide attack that killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100 others on April 18.

At least 33 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad in a suicide attack which President Ashraf Ghani said was orchestrated by the militant group Islamic State (IS).

Witnesses said the attacker blew himself up on April 18 outside a bank in the capital of Nangarhar province where government staff and military personnel were collecting their salaries.

Police said another bomb was discovered nearby and was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

Ghani said the attack was claimed by IS.

"Who claimed responsibility for horrific attack in Nangarhar today? The Taliban did not claim responsibility for the attack, Daesh" -- an alternative nickname for the IS group -- "claimed responsibility," Ghani said on a visit to northeastern Badakhshan Province.

An online posting allegedly from IS made the same claim, which could not be immediately verified.

Ghani has warned before that IS militants were beginning to establish a presence in Afghanistan.

During his visit to the United States last month, he reiterated his concerns that the militant group, which controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, was making inroads into Afghanistan.

The Taliban have seen defections to the group in recent months, although the IS has never formally acknowledged having a presence in the country.

Another bombing in the Behsud district of Nangarhar province killed one civilian and wounded two others, authorities said.

Pakistan's government, which is coordinating with Afghanistan on counterterrorism efforts, condemned the attacks.

A statement Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement called the bombings cowardly and indiscriminate, and said attacks against civilians have no justification under any circumstances.

In Ghazni Province, in southeastern Afghanistan, local officials reported that four civilians from the Hazara ethnic minority were beheaded by unknown attackers.

The four men had been abducted last week.

The Afghan government has been hindered in its duties by the failure to get most of its cabinet picks approved. Lawmakers on April 18 finally backed most of those cabinet selections, leaving only the Defense post unfilled.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, RFE/RL's Afghan Service, and Pajhwok Afghan News

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