World News

In Advance of Cease-Fires, Bombings in Afghanistan Kill at Least 18

Posted June 11, 2018 2:33 p.m. EDT
Updated June 11, 2018 2:36 p.m. EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan — Suicide bombers struck a government building in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Monday, killing at least 17 people, Afghan officials said.

Another government office, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, was also a bombing target Monday, but no one was killed. A bomb detonated prematurely in a third location, killing one person.

The deaths came on the eve of separate but overlapping cease-fires, one declared by the Afghan government and the other by the Taliban insurgency, to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of daytime fasting.

At least one bombing was attributed to the Islamic State group, according to Afghan officials.

A spokesman for the Taliban said the insurgents had not played any role in the attacks.

In the Kabul attack, a bomb was detonated in the parking area of the ministry of rural development about 1 p.m. Monday, ministry spokesman Mohammad Daud Naeemi said. It was unclear if the explosive was delivered by a suicide bomber in a car or on foot. Seventeen people were killed and 40 were wounded, said Wahidullah Majroh, a spokesman for the ministry of public health.

In eastern Nangarhar province, three suicide attackers struck at the education ministry offices in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, but police had been warned they were coming. Two attackers who wore suicide vests were shot and killed before they could do significant damage; the third was driving a car loaded with explosives that failed to detonate. No one else was killed, but 15 people were wounded, according to Ghulam Sanai Stanikzai, the Nangarhar police chief.

Stanikzai said the Islamic State was responsible for that attack. He also said that a terrorist bomb exploded prematurely in a house in the Chaparhar district of the province, killing one civilian and wounding 12 others.

The Afghan government unilaterally declared a cease-fire to begin Tuesday to mark the last week of Ramadan. Separately, the Taliban announced a cease-fire to begin on Eid al-Fitr, the festival at the end of Ramadan. That cease-fire is to start Saturday. The two cease-fires would overlap for three days.

The Islamic State, however, has made no cease-fire announcement. The extremist group claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings in the capital and is also active in eastern Nangarhar province.