At least 11 killed in east Afghanistan bomb blast
A motorbike loaded with explosives blew up in east Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 11 people at a religious ceremony, officials said.
“The explosives detonated at a gathering in Gilan district of Ghazni province,” said provincial governor’s spokesman Waheedullah Jumazada, adding that at least 11 people were killed and 20 wounded.
He said the wounded included children.
Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed the blast at a house where a Quran recitation was being held, but said 15 people were killed.
No group immediately claimed the attack.
Taliban and Afghan government forces have regularly clashed in Ghazni.
Thirty security personnel were killed last month when a suicide car bomber struck an army base near Ghazni city, the provincial capital.
The Taliban have primarily targeted government forces in rural areas since signing a deal with Washington in February that paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign forces by May 2021.
The latest violence comes as peace talks in the Qatari capital between the Taliban and Afghan government to end the country’s grinding war are on pause until January.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for the next round of peace negotiations to be held in Kabul, saying it was inappropriate to meet in “luxurious hotels”.
Taliban negotiators have flown to Pakistan where they met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, who called on both sides to reduce violence and agree to a ceasefire.