(Update 1: Adds details, upgrades number of injured)
Kabul, Oct 3 (efe-epa).- At least 15 people have been killed and more than 42 others injured in an attack using Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED), which was followed by armed clashes in eastern Afghanistan, official sources said Saturday.
The attack took place around 12.20 pm local time in Shinwar district in Nangarhar province, which is located around 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Jalalabad city, as militants targeted the district headquarters with an explosive laden vehicle, the provincial governor’s spokesperson Attaullah Khogyanai told EFE.
“Fifteen dead bodies and 42 injured persons have been evacuated to hospitals, some of the injured persons are in critical condition,” Khogyanai said, adding that four children and one member of the Afghan security forces were among those killed.
He said following the vehicle bombing, a number of suicide attackers also engaged in clashes with the security forces at the district headquarters. The fighting has since subsided.
A statement from the governor’s office in Nangarhar underlined that children were among the casualties of the attack.
A video of the blast site released by the governor’s office showed the entire area devastated by the explosion, with cars, nearby buildings and roads completely destroyed.
The attackers used a mini-truck full of explosives and detonated it near the district compound which houses the district governor office and district police office.
Interior Ministry spokesman, Tariq Arian in a statement said: “The attack in Nangarhar was carried out near a mosque and during the afternoon prayers.
“This is a crime against the people of Afghanistan. Taliban are responsible for such attacks. They were behind such attacks in the past as well, including attacks on hospitals, people’s gatherings and places of worship.”
“In its series of their crimes against people, the Taliban have conducted 650 terrorist attacks in the past two weeks, in which 210 civilians have been killed and injured.”
Of those casualties, 69 were fatal.
No group so far claimed the responsibility for the attack. Both Taliban and Daesh group fighters are known to be active in Nangarhar province.
The attacks come at a time when representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban are holding initial meetings for the ongoing peace negotiations in the Qatari capital of Doha for the last three weeks.
A ceasefire between the Afghan security forces and the Taliban is expected to be one of the top points on the agenda of the negotiators, and it could bring an end to nearly two decades of war in the country.
However, the discussions have remained stuck over various disagreements, including the role of the United States’ agreement with the Taliban in the peace process, as the insurgents demanded on Sunday that the talks should be based on their agreement with Washington signed in February. EFE-EPA