Isis in Afghanistan: Group claims responsibility for Jalalabad suicide bombing that killed 35

A motorcyclist laded with explosives rode into government and military employees queuing at a bank to collect their wages

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 18 April 2015 21:17 BST
People run for cover after an explosion in Jalalabad on April 18, 2015
People run for cover after an explosion in Jalalabad on April 18, 2015

Isis has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan that killed at least 35 people queuing to collect their wages and injured 100 more today.

The blast rocked the eastern city of Jalalabad on Saturday, reportedly killing children in the busy city street.

It appeared to target government staff and military personnel who were waiting outside a bank to collect their monthly salaries.

The attacker rode an explosive-laden motorcycle into the crowd before detonating it to kill everyone standing nearby in the crowded commercial district.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesperson for the provincial governor in Nangarhar province, said the death toll could rise as many wounded people were in a critical condition in hospital.

Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, was travelling to meet the families of soldiers killed in a separate terror attack when he learned of the explosion.

"The Taliban didn't claim responsibility. Daesh claimed responsibility for it," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

He condemned the murder of civilians as a “cowardly and heinous” crime, accusing terrorists of using “Afghan blood and soil for their proxy war”.

“This nation does not bow to threats and dangers,” President Ghani said. “We will fight them to the end.”

Police inspect the scene of the suicide bombing in Jalalabad on 18 April

Isis’s claim of responsibility could not be confirmed but Shahidullah Shahid, who claims to be a spokesman for the group in Afghanistan, said it orchestrated the attack and named the alleged bomber, the BBC reported.

It would be the group's first major attack in the country.

A Taliban spokesperson had earlier denied the group was responsible for the bank attack, the worst in Jalalabad for several months.

The so-called Islamic State is believed to have arrived in the country at the end of last year as British and US soldiers withdrew.

Its militants have reportedly started competing with the Taliban, who the coalition forces fought for more than a decade, for control of land and poppy fields.

Another bomb was found by police in Jalalabad before it could be detonated and was safely exploded by the army later on Saturday.

A second blast was reported near a shrine in the morning but no one was hurt.

Meanwhile another bombing in the Behsud district of Nangarhar killed one person and wounded two others, Mr Abdulzai said, adding that a bomb was apparently attached to a parked car and then remotely detonated.

An Afghan man holds his son who was injured in a suicide bomb attack in Jalalabad

The Pakistani government, which is co-ordinating counter-terrorism operations with Afghanistan, condemned the attacks.

A statement released by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry called the bombings “cowardly and indiscriminate” and said killing civilians could not be justified under any circumstances.

Additional reporting by AP

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