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At least 20 killed in Afghanistan after bomber hits crowd of Taliban militants, civilians celebrating truce on Eid

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Afghan Taliban, security forces, and civilians celebrating an unprecedented ceasefire in the war-torn country on Saturday, killing at least 20 people, officials said.

Representational imagel. AP

Representational imagel. AP

At least 16 others were wounded in the attack in Rodat district in eastern Nangarhar province, provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

The Nangarhar provincial police chief, Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai, said the explosion Saturday took place in the Rodat district of eastern Nangarhar province as dozens of Taliban insurgents in the area had gathered to celebrate a three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban leadership to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Most of the dead and wounded were Taliban, said Stanikzai, The Associated Press reported.

The attack came as President Ashraf Ghani announced an extension of the government's week-long ceasefire with the militant group after both sides agreed to halt hostilities for Eid.

Ghani made his announcement in a rare televised address to the nation, in which he also asked the Taliban to extend their three-day ceasefire which is due to end Sunday.

"I order the security forces to remain on their defensive positions," Ghani said, adding details of the extension would be released later.

While no militant organisation has yet claimed responsibility, the Islamic State affiliate, which did not sign on to the ceasefire, has a strong presence in the area.

The incident comes in the wake of several deadly attacks that had hit the country soon after,  Taliban, which has waged a bloody armed rebellion against Kabul since it was removed from power in 2001, also agreed to reciprocate to the government's decision to sign a three-day-truce to coincide with celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr. According to an Al Jazeera report, at least 19 people, including 10 Taliban fighters were killed in separate attacks till 11 June.

On the first two days of Eid, Taliban fighters, Afghan security forces and civilians hugged and took selfies with each other across the country, in an outpouring of emotion over the ceasefire.


With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 16, 2018 20:32 PM

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