Bombing kills 18 in Afghanistan on eve of Eid ceasefire | The Daily Star
10:49 AM, July 31, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:53 AM, July 31, 2020

Bombing kills 18 in Afghanistan on eve of Eid ceasefire

At least 18 people, including Afghan security forces personnel, were killed in a suspected car-bombing in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday (July 30), hours before a three-day ceasefire was to begin in the country for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, officials said.

The ceasefire, announced by the Taleban, comes at a time violence has risen across the war-torn country as US-brokered peace talks between the militant group and an Afghan government-mandated committee await the completion of a prisoner exchange between the two sides.

The Taleban denied responsibility for the bombing in a statement from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The explosion targeted Afghan security forces in Pul-e-Alan, the capital of the eastern province of Logar and civilian casualties are also feared, according to Shahpoor Ahmadzai, the spokesman for the provincial police.

He added it was unclear whether it was a car or suicide bombing, but that security forces had gathered for duty in the city to prepare for security measures for Eid al-Fitr, which will be celebrated in Afghanistan on Friday.

The head of the province's council, Hasib Stanekkzai, told Reuters it was a car-bombing and put the toll at 18 dead and 22 injured.

Since the US-Taleban agreement in February, 3,560 Afghan security forces personnel have been killed in attacks by militants, according to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report this week that more than 1,280 Afghan civilians had been killed in the first six months of the year, mainly as a result of fighting between Afghan government forces and the Taleban.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul on Wednesday to discuss the need to keep violence down by all sides after the ceasefire and the completion of the prisoner exchange, according to a statement by the US Embassy in Kabul.

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