The death toll from a bomb blast at a religious gathering in eastern Afghanistan has risen to 15, officials said on Friday, and all of the victims are children. About 20 civilians were also wounded in the attack.
The explosion took place in Ghazni province. “Unfortunately, as a result of this incident 15 people, all children, were martyred,” said Wahedullah Jumazada, a spokesman for the governor.
Police officials in Ghazni also said that all those killed in the blast were children.
The Interior Ministry also confirmed casualties, saying the explosion occurred in Agho Jan village in Ghazni’s Gelan district on Friday afternoon local time.
The explosives were loaded on a motorbike that was parked near a house where a group of people had gathered to attend a Koran recitation ceremony, according to ministry spokesman Tariq Arian.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying in a statement that “the Taliban should accept the people’s call for ceasefire, refrain from terrorist attacks that are against humanity and Islam and should accept the peace process.”
The Taliban has not immediately commented on the attack.
Violence continues in Afghanistan despite continuing talks between the government in Kabul and Taliban insurgents aimed at ending the 19-year war.
On Thursday, Ghani invited the Taliban to Kandahar province, saying that if the insurgents are willing to bring peace to the country, they must hold talks with the negotiating team of the government.
However, he warned that Kabul will not continue to free Taliban prisoners because the movement has not reduced its violence. “We saw that the bloodshed did not stop. They must stop the bloodshed so we can talk,” he said.
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