Suicide bomber kills 13 at meeting of tribal elders in Afghanistan

JALALABAD, Afghanistan, A suicide bomber targeted a meeting of tribal elders in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Sunday, killing 13 people and injuring 14 more.

Suicide bomber kills 13 at meeting of tribal elders in Afghanistan
An Afghan soldier stands guard outside the site of a gun battle and car bomb explosion in the Shar-e Naw area of Kabul on February 26, 2010. A similar attack at a meeting of tribal elders on January 17, 2016, claimed the lives of 13 people. UPI | License Photo













Officials say the blast occurred in Jalalabad at the home of Obaiduallah Shinwari, a prominent member of Nangarhar’s provincial council and a supporter of peace talks between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

The BBC reported the elders had gathered at Shinwari’s home to celebrate his brother’s release from Taliban captivity after several months. Shinwari’s brother and father were among the injured.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack, but an affiliate of the Isis — which has reportedly clashed with Taliban forces — controls or at least influences two districts in the Nangarhar province.

IS claimed responsibility for a gun and bomb attack that killed at least seven people near the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad on Wednesday.

Sunday’s attack came after four-way talks among the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China concerning peace negotiations between the Taliban and the government in Kabul.

The Taliban did not attend the dialogue, and it is not clear whether they will be present at a second round of four-way talks scheduled Monday.

Previous attempts at negotiation with the militant group failed last year when news of the death of former chief Mullah Omar led to infighting over disagreements about leadership.

Despite the seeming lack of Taliban unity, the militants have managed to conduct stunning assaults in recent months, including in the Sangin district of Helmand province last month and in the northern city of Kunduz in September.

By Fred Lambert