Kabul, Dec 18 (efe-epa).- At least 15 civilians were killed and 20 others injured on Friday when an explosive-laden motorcycle was detonated in eastern Afghanistan close to a house where a Koran reading ceremony was underway.
The incident took place in the evening near a house in the Gilan district of the Ghazni province where a public Koran recital was being held, interior ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian tweeted.
The spokesperson also confirmed the death toll and the number of injured.
No rebel group has taken responsibility for the attack so far.
The main Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, referred to the Ghazni incident in a Twitter post, but claimed that the explosion was caused by a group of children handling an undetonated explosive device. He asserted that 12 of the children had been killed by the explosion.
However, the office of President Ashraf Ghani termed the incident a “terrorist attack” that had killed multiple civilians in a statement and directly blamed it on the Taliban, urging them to “cease such inhumane acts and atrocities.
“The Taliban must agree to the call of the people and government of Afghanistan for a ceasefire (…) and embrace the peace process,” Ghani said.
The Taliban and various representatives of the Afghan civil society, along with the government, have been participating in ongoing peace negotiations in Doha since September, although the two sides have so far managed to agree upon only on the norms and procedures to dictate the negotiation process.
The appeal for a ceasefire aims to reduce violence and aid the peace process, as at least 134 civilians have been killed and 342 injured since November in 184 suicide attacks and explosions linked to the Taliban, according to interior ministry data. EFE-EPA