Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 July 2019

Afghan boy, 13, kills at least five in suicide attack at wedding

Commander of a pro-government militia is believed to have been the target

Medical staff treat one of the people injured in a suicide bombing at a wedding in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on July 12, 2019. Reuters
Medical staff treat one of the people injured in a suicide bombing at a wedding in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on July 12, 2019. Reuters

A boy suicide bomber killed at least five people at a wedding in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, including the commander of a pro-government militia.

At least 40 other people were wounded in the attack in Pacheragam district of Nangarhar province, said Atahullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

"This morning at 8am, a suicide bomber detonated himself at a wedding ceremony in Pacheragam district", Mr Khogyani said. "As a result, five killed, more than 40 wounded."

Hazrat Khan Khaksar, the Pachiragam district governor, put the toll at 14 killed and 14 wounded but he cautioned the figures might change.

Zahir Adil, the Nangarhar regional hospital spokesman, told Agence France-Presse that two bodies and 11 wounded victims had been taken to the hospital in central Nangarhar city.

Malik Toor, the commander of a pro-government militia who had organised the wedding, was among those killed in the blast, police official Fayz Mohammad Babarkhil said.

Pro-government militias often work with overstretched Afghan security forces to prevent territories falling into the hands of the Taliban and ISIS.

Last month, Taliban militants killed at least 26 members of a pro-government militia in northern Afghanistan.

No one took responsibility for Friday's attack, which Mr Babarkhil said was carried out by a 13-year-old. The Taliban said it was not involved, in a statement posted on its website.

Nangarhar province is the base of the Afghan branch of ISIS, which has carried out several high-profile attacks there, including in the provincial capital Jalalabad.

The bombing comes just days after the Taliban held two days of talks with Afghan representatives as part of a US-led effort to end their insurgency.

At the conclusion of the two-day summit in the Qatari capital Doha, both sides unveiled a joint resolution pledging a "roadmap for peace" in which they sought to reduce civilian casualties to zero.

Updated: July 12, 2019 02:39 PM

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