– The Sun News
SUICIDE

20 die in Afghan’s suicide attack

NAN

At least 20 people were killed, on Saturday, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd in Afghanistan.

Provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal confirmed the death toll but said 25 wounded had been taken to hospital.

The incident happened at a time when Afghan and Taliban, security forces, and civilians are celebrating an unprecedented ceasefire in the war-torn country.

The attack came as President Ashraf Ghani announced an extension of the government’s week-long ceasefire with the militant group after both sides agreed to halt hostilities for Eid.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast marking the suspension of fighting in Rodat district of Nangarhar province, but an Afghan security source said the Islamic State group was to blame.

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

Ghani made his announcement in a rare televised address to the nation, in which he 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, which was due to end Tuesday, did not include IS.

On the first two days of Eid, Taliban fighters, Afghan security forces and civilians hugged and took selfies with each other across the country, in an outpouring of emotion over the ceasefire.

In the contested district of Bati Kot in Nangarhar, Taliban fighters carrying assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers travelled by car and motorbike, waving Afghan and Taliban flags.

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 Ramadan.

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