Twin blasts in Afghanistan's Jalalabad have killed at least 37 people and injured over 100. A spokesperson for the Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which would make it first attack by the Islamic State in Afghanistan.
Most of those injured in the two blasts in Jalalabad are in a critical condition and casualties are expected to increase, according to Inamullah Miakhel, spokesperson for Afghanistan's Health Department.
The attacks are a significant sign of the expansion of the operations of the Islamic State terrorist group into Afghanistan. A spokesperson of the Islamic State terrorist group, Shahidullah Shahid, has claimed responsibility online, and identified the suicide bomber as Abu Muhammed Khurasani. NDTV cannot independently verify the claim.
Shahidullah Shahid was among the former Taliban leaders and groups that have in recent weeks declared their allegiance to Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, the self-styled Caliph of the Islamic State group, which has overrun parts of Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid condemned the attacks online, and confirmed that his group had nothing to do with the attack. Several Afghan Taliban leaders and groups have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State in recent weeks, underscoring competition between the two terrorist groups for supremacy within the sphere of fundamentalist Islamist militancy.
Government officials have told NDTV that one of the blasts was a suicide attack, and that a man, possibly on a bicycle or motorcycle, detonated explosives near a queue of people outside a private bank, waiting to collect their salaries.
Another blast took place near a shrine and municipality buildings. Bomb disposal experts detonated a third explosive.
Jalalabad is the capital of the Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan, on the border with Pakistan, and sees frequent attacks. The attacks have come even as Afghan Army Chief, General Sher Muhammed Karimi, is in Pakistan, attending the passing out parade at the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad.