Blast kills three tribal elders in Afghan city

An injured man being carried away after the blast in Jalalabad yesterday. The explosion, which killed at least three tribal elders and wounded two, went off on the second floor of a hotel where the tribal elders were staying. The cause of the blast w
An injured man being carried away after the blast in Jalalabad yesterday. The explosion, which killed at least three tribal elders and wounded two, went off on the second floor of a hotel where the tribal elders were staying. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

JALALABAD (Afghanistan) • An explosion killed at least three tribal elders and wounded two when it hit a hotel in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad yesterday, officials said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Mr Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said the explosion went off on the second floor of a hotel where tribal elders were staying. The elders were in Jalalabad for a meeting about a new electronic identity card being introduced by the central government.

Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan, where an affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has established a stronghold in recent years.

The movement has claimed several attacks in Jalalabad, most recently last month when it targeted an office of the Save the Children aid group in the city. Gunmen stormed the office and battled security forces surrounding the building, killing at least two people and wounding 12, officials said.

The attack targeted British, Swedish and Afghan government institutions, ISIS said in a statement on its Amaq news agency.

Save the Children was founded in Britain, and a Swedish aid group office and a building of the Afghan Department of Women's Affairs are near the compound.

The attack underlined how difficult operating in Afghanistan has become for humanitarian aid organisations, which have faced heavy pressure from armed groups and kidnappers.

Last week, the United Nations said more than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in violence last year, with militant bombings the main cause while air strikes by United States and Afghan government forces inflicted a rising toll. US President Donald Trump introduced a more aggressive US strategy in Afghanistan last August, including a surge in air strikes.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'Blast kills three tribal elders in Afghan city'. Print Edition | Subscribe