26 dead in Afghanistan car bombing as Taliban rule out extended ceasefire

18 June 2018

26 dead in Afghanistan car bombing as Taliban rule out extended ceasefire

A suicide car bombing in eastern Afghanistan has left 26 people dead as Taliban fighters and Afghan soldiers elsewhere in the country came together to celebrate an unprecedented ceasefire.

Taliban members walked through Kabul unchallenged, welcoming and exchanging hugs, selfies and food with Afghan soldiers amid the Eid holiday, which has brought a 3 day period of ceasefire.

However, the outbreak of friendliness between the two conflicted sides has been marred by a car bomb which was detonated in the eastern city of Nangarhar.

Islamic State has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which wounded another 54 people.

“A suicide bomber detonated among people, security forces, and Taliban, who were celebrating the ceasefire,” provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

The group’s Amaq news agency said the target was “a gathering of Afghan forces” but gave no details. The Taliban had already denied involvement.

The ceasefire is not expected to last, as an extension of the Eid holiday has been ruled out, with the Taliban saying that it had been ordered to take up arms again on Sunday night.

“It was the most peaceful Eid. For the first time we felt safe. It is hard to describe the joy,” said Qais Liwal, a student in Zabul in southern Afghanistan.

It is the Taliban’s first ceasefire since the government they ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.