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Three killed in explosions in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan

At least three people have been killed and more than 18 people injured in three explosions in Jalalabad in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

It is reported that the intended target may have been a passing convoy of the Taliban in the provincial capital. It is the first attack in the province since the Taliban came into power in mid-August.

A Taliban official told the Guardian that they are still investigating the nature of the attack. “It is too early to say how they carried out the attack,” he said. “We can’t say for sure who might be behind the blasts.”

A health official in the city, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: “We have received 20 injured. Two of them died soon after being shifted to the hospital. We have children and women injured as well.”

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the Jalalabad attack. But the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is alleged to be based in the mountainous region of Nangarhar province along the country’s eastern frontier with Pakistan.

Another bomb reportedly exploded in the country’s capital, Kabul, injuring two people. It is not clear who was the target of the attack but locals say the magnetic bomb had targeted a car.

In August, ISKP claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack in which two suicide bombers detonated themselves at Hamid Karzai international airport. At least 95 Afghans and 13 US service members were killed and more than 100 injured in the blasts.

In 2018, ISKP ranked as the world’s fourth deadliest terror group, claiming more than 1,000 lives, mostly in Afghanistan, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, which monitors global terrorism.

The attacks are the first deadly blasts since the US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. After taking power, the Taliban had promised to restore peace and stability in the region and not to shelter any militant organisations.

Earlier this year Taliban fighters claimed to have killed hundreds of ISKP fighters after the US agreed to not deploy their airpower against the Taliban. According to credible reports, however, many ISKP fighters were able to escape and may have been able to regroup or form sleeper cells.

With the Taliban now seemingly secure in power, a full civil war may be an unlikely prospect but the threat of ISKP attacks on civilians is high.

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