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15 killed, 30 injured in suspected Taliban attack in eastern Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows the site of an explosion in Jalalabad, Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. (AFP photo)

At least 15 people have lost their lives and more than two dozen others sustained injuries after a car bomb attack blamed on the Taliban militant group targeted a government building in eastern Afghanistan.

The explosion took place at the entrance of an administrative building that also housed some military facilities in the Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar province on Saturday.

"The car bomb detonated at the entrance of the district headquarters building. Several armed attackers tried to enter the building after the attack but were killed by security forces," Attaullah Khogyani, the governor's spokesman, said in an interview with AFP, adding that the incident left more than 30 others wounded.

Provincial police spokesman Farid Khan confirmed the details and said most of the victims were Afghan security force members but several civilians were also among the dead.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack but Khan blamed the Taliban terrorists, who alongside the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, have a heavy presence in the troubled region.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have carried out near-daily attacks against Afghan forces across various parts of the country. 

Afghanistan sees the recent bloodshed against the backdrop of peace talks that commenced in the Qatari capital of Doha on September 12 following months of delay over a contentious prisoner swap between the two sides.

The negotiations are the result of a deal between the Taliban and the United States signed in February, which also paved the way for the withdrawal of all foreign forces by May next year.

Under the deal with Washington, the Taliban agreed to stop their attacks on US-led foreign forces in return for the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a prisoner swap with the government.

The Afghan government was a party neither to the negotiations nor to the deal, but it has been acting in accordance with its terms, including by agreeing to free the Taliban prisoners.

Official data shows that Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group signed a deal with the United States in February. 

The United States invaded Afghanistan and toppled a Taliban regime in 2001. 

American forces have since remained bogged down in Afghanistan through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump. Two decades later, Washington has had to negotiate its way out of the Afghan war.


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