At least 36 killed after suicide bomber hits Taliban celebrating Eid ceasefire with Afghan security forces

  • President Ashraf Ghani announces extension of government ceasefire with Afghanistan's biggest militant group
World

KABUL – A blast rocked a gathering of Afghan security forces, civilians and Taliban on Saturday evening killing at least 36 people in eastern Nangarhar province.

Nangarhar spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the explosion happened in Rodat district at an Eid gathering between Taliban and Afghan security forces who were celebrating the ceasefire. Another 65 people, including Taliban and civilians, were injured in the explosion, he added.

He confirmed that it had been a suicide bombing and not an accidental explosion as earlier reported.

The ToloNews earlier quoted sources as saying that explosives in a Taliban vehicle reportedly exploded.

Dozens of unarmed Taliban militants entered cities on Saturday to celebrate an unprecedented ceasefire.

Afghan government has said it will continue operations against other insurgent groups, including Daesh, and only Taliban are part of the ceasefire.

Daesh militants are active in parts of Nangarhar province.

Afghan soldiers, Taliban exchange hugs, make selfies on Eid after unprecedented ceasefire

The Saturday’s blast followed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s announcement of an extension of the government’s week-long ceasefire with the Taliban.

In a rare televised address to the nation on Saturday morning, Ghani 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.

The government’s ceasefire was due to end Tuesday.

His announcement comes as Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces hugged and took selfies with each other across the country as an unprecedented ceasefire in the war-torn country held for the second day of Eid.

Carrying assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, members of Afghanistan’s biggest militant group travelled by car and motorbike through the contested district of Bati Kot in eastern Nangarhar province, waving Afghan and Taliban flags.

Afghan regime, Taliban agree on unprecedented ceasefire for Eid

Villagers also flocked around the insurgents, hugging them and happily taking selfies with the heavily armed fighters as they celebrated the Muslim holiday capping the holy month of Ramazan.

The Taliban announced a ceasefire for the first three days of Eid, which started Friday, promising not to attack Afghan security forces for the first time since the 2001 US invasion.

They said they would continue attacking US-led NATO troops.