Laghman governor survives suicide attack as blast hits Nangarhar government building

Salaam Times and AFP

At least 15 people, mostly civilians, were killed and more than 40 others were wounded in a truck bombing that targeted a government building in Nangarhar Province. Images show debris at the site of the blast and civilians being taken away to hospitals in ambulances. [NOORULLAH SHIRZADA / AFPTV / AFP]

JALALABAD -- A suicide attack targeting the Laghman provincial governor killed at least eight people on Monday (October 5), officials said, as the Afghan president travelled to Qatar, where peace talks with the Taliban have stalled.

Twenty-eight people were wounded when the attacker rammed his explosives-filled vehicle into the convoy of Rahmatullah Yarmal, the governor of Laghman Province.

"The governor was driving to his office when his car was hit. Four of his bodyguards and four civilians were killed, 28 wounded," governor's spokesman Assadullah Dawlatzai told AFP, adding that Yarmal was unhurt.

Ministry of Interior Affairs (MOI) spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed the attack. Most of the wounded were civilians, he said.


Afghan security forces remove a damaged police vehicle at the site of a car bombing hat targeted the Laghman provincial governor's convoy in Mehtarlam October 5. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]


An injured youth is carried to a hospital following a car bombing that targeted a government building in Ghani Khel District of Nangarhar Province on October 3. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

It comes as President Ashraf Ghani October 5 left for Doha to meet with Qatari officials, three weeks after the launch of landmark peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Ghani will first stop in Kuwait to offer condolences over the death of emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, said Ghani spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

Talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government negotiators, aimed at ending Afghanistan's 19-year conflict, have stalled over disagreements on how to frame a code of conduct that will guide the broader talks.

The Taliban, who are Sunni hard-liners, are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but the government negotiators say this stance could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shia, and other minorities in the country.

"Definitely things take time," Khairullah Khairkhaw, a senior member of the Taliban negotiating team, told reporters in Doha.

"There are many issues, 20 or more, that need clarity," he said.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the Laghman bombing, but the Taliban are active in the region.

Deadly leverage

Some officials have accused the Taliban of refusing to halt their violence because they see it as key to leverage at the negotiating table.

Last week, at least 14 civilians, including women and children, were killed by a roadside bomb in Daikundi Province, officials said.

Seven women, five children and two men died September 29 when their vehicle detonated an explosive device in Kajran District, Arian of the MOI said in a statement.

Three children were wounded, he added, blaming the Taliban.

Meanwhile, at least 15 people, mostly civilians, were killed and more than 40 others wounded in a truck bombing that targeted a government building in Nangarhar Province on Saturday (October 3), officials said.

A suicide bomber detonated the vehicle full of explosives at the entrance of an administrative building that also housed some military facilities in Ghani Khel District, governor's spokesman Ataullah Khogyani told AFP.

"As a result, 13 civilians including one woman and four children were killed," he said. "Two members of security forces were also killed."

Forty-two people, including four security force members, were wounded, he said, adding that several armed attackers who tried to enter the building after the assault were killed by security forces.

Provincial police spokesman Farid Khan confirmed the details.

The blast was powerful, said Abdullah, a shopkeeper whose premises were partially destroyed.

"There is a bazaar near the building -- almost all the windows of the shops [in the bazaar] are broken," he told AFP. "A lot of people have been killed and wounded. I helped about a dozen wounded people be taken by car to the hospital."

So far, no group has claimed responsibility, but Khan blamed the Taliban.

Both the Taliban and the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) are active in the region.

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The war in Afghanistan is over the power. Neither Ashraf Ghani's son nor Mullah Baradar's son is killed in this war. Every day, war and violence take the lives of ordinary people, but the government is silent. So, there is a need felt for a third group to rise up and fight against both the government and the Taliban. People must do something; otherwise, these two power-seeking groups will not come to terms with each other and will not stop killing the poor people.