Deadly suicide bombings hit Afghanistan's Jalalabad

April 18, 2015 17:06
Deadly suicide bombings hit Afghanistan's Jalalabad

At least 33 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a series of attacks in Jalalabad city in the eastern Nangarhar province.

The first attack occurred at about 8:30am local time on Saturday after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the gate of the New Kabul Bank branch, according to Fazal Ahmad Sherzad, the provincial police chief.

He said that just hour after the first attack, another explosion happened near the Da Afghanistan Bank  branch, just 60 metres away from the first attack.

A third attack occurred outside a shrine, but no one was injured.  

The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs said two other motorcycle bombs were defused in the vicinity of the earlier attacks.

"After the suicide attack, Afghan National Police discovered, defused and exploded two explosives-rigged motorcycles in the area. The other two explosions were controlled explosions by Nangarhar police but no casualties," the ministry said in a statement.

"[The] Minister of Interior Affairs strongly condemns all acts of violence as these heinous acts go against the values of humanity as well values of peaceful Afghans".

Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif also condemned the attacks, saying "Pakistan would be happy to provide any assistance to Afghanistan to successfully fight terrorism".

Taliban deny responsibility

The victims were taken to hospital and police launched investigations, Sherzad said.

Sherzad said the attacks appeared to be coordinated as they occurred when government employees were at the bank branch to draw their salaries.
The New Kabul Bank also pays the salaries of Aghanistan's police.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said: "The attacks come at a particularly delicate time for Afghanistan - they are voting on 16 candidates for cabinet positions today.

"It's been six months since the president was elected and he still doesn't have a cabinet, so any violence will worsen an already unstable situation".

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, denied any involvement with the Jalalabad attacks.

"It is a sad incident. The mujahideen [Taliban] had no role in it," he said.

In a separate incident, five people have been beheaded in Afghanistan's southeast. The men, belonging to the ethnic Hazara community, had been kidnapped on Wednesday.

Their bodies have been found in Malistan province. The Hazaras are a minority in Afghanistan and have often been targeted.

No group's has claimed responsibility so far for the attack.

- Manohar

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