Student killed in twin bomb attack near Afghanistan girls' school

Sergio Conner
September 14, 2018

The escalating violence has dampened hopes of peace talks to end Afghanistan's 17-year conflict but two Taliban officials on Tuesday told Reuters the movement was preparing for another meeting with US officials following one in July.

The death toll from a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday has risen to 68 people, with at least 165 others injured, officials said.

No group has said it carried out the suicide bombing in the crowd of protesters in Nangarhar's Momand Dara district, but Islamic State militants are active in the province.

Local officials said the attack targeted a gathering to protest against a local militia commander and said hundreds of people were present when the blast occurred.

Relatives and family members of Tuesday's victims have continued blocking the highway, according to local witnesses.

The Taliban has denied any involvement and so far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

It was the deadliest attack since an ambulance packed with explosives detonated in a crowded street in the heart of Kabul in January, killing more than 100 people, mostly civilians.

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"All people killed were civilians in the attack", Ataullah Khogyani, the governor's spokesman, told Al Jazeera.

Local officials said the wounded were taken to Jalalabad hospitals.

Afghanistan's parliamentary elections are due in October this year.

The explosion at the protest followed a series of smaller blasts on Tuesday that targeted schools in Jalalabad and surrounding districts that were returning after summer breaks.

The attack came hours after a double bombing in front of a girls' school in the provincial capital Jalalabad, which killed a boy and wounded four others.

In addition to the strikes against the protesters, three schools in the area were also hit.

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