Conflicts & War

10 Die in bombing ahead of cease-fire in Afghanistan

Kabul, Jul 30 (efe-epa).- At least 10 people were killed and 40 others wounded Thursday when a car packed with explosives was detonated in the eastern province of Logar on the eve of a cease-fire between government forces and the Taliban for Eid al-Adha, Afghan officials said.

The blast occurred around 7:40 pm in Pul-e-Alam, the provincial capital, near a checkpoint, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The area was crowded with people ahead of the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, observed on Friday.

“Members of the National Police and National Directorate of Security had a joint checkpoint on a road in the city for security of the Eid al-Adha, when a terrorist detonated his Corolla car full of explosives near to security forces,” Shapoor Ahmadzai, a spokesman for the Logar police, told Efe.

“In this attack, 10 people were martyred. including seven members of the security forces and three civilians, and more than 40 people, mostly civilians, were injured” he said, adding that the death toll could rise.

Several of the injured people evacuated to the provincial hospital were in critical condition, Ahmadzai said.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack and the Taliban explicitly denied any involvement on their part.

“The blast in Logar has nothing to do with the Mujahidins of the Islamic Emirate,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, accusing unspecified elements in the intelligence services of mounting the attack to sabotage the planned three-day cease-fire.

But a spokesman for the interior ministry, Tariq Arian insisted that the Taliban were to blame.

“Taliban are the persons who paved the ground for the activities of all terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and they can’t disassociate themselves of the responsibility for such attacks. They are responsible for all terrorist attacks and killing of the Afghan people in the country,” Arian said.

The Eid cease-fire, set to begin at midnight Thursday, is seen as an important step toward the start of negotiations among the Afghan government, the Taliban and other parties aimed at achieving a negotiated settlement to the conflict that has ravaged the country since the US invasion in October 2001. EFE bks/dr

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