Suicide attack strikes Afghan security forces in Jalalabad
A suicide attacker blew himself up near an Afghan security forces vehicle on Tuesday, killing at least ten people, mostly civilians, officials said, in the latest deadly violence to rock the country.
The explosion in the eastern city of Jalalabad also left at least four people wounded and set a nearby petrol station alight, provincial governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.
Eight civilians were among the dead, Khogyani added.
Some of the victims were brought to hospital with severe burns, Health Director Najibullah Kamawal said, confirming the casualty toll.
"I saw a big ball of fire that threw people away. The people were burning," Esmatullah, who witnessed the incident, told AFP.
Jalalabad has been the scene of numerous attacks recently as militants step up activity in the restive region.
During an unannounced visit to Kabul on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was "now hope" for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The visit followed an unprecedented ceasefire during Eid last month, when the Islamic holiday was marked by spontaneous street celebrations involving Afghan security forces and Taliban militants.
Fighters on both sides have expressed a deep fatigue with the grinding conflict, raising hopes that an end to hostilities was possible after 17 years of war that began with the US-led invasion in 2001 that ousted the Taliban from power.
But the insurgents refused the government's request to extend their three-day ceasefire, launching attacks that have seen scores killed or injured.
The number of Taliban attacks across the country had fallen since the ceasefire, a security official told AFP, though the claims could not be verified.