A suicide bomber in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province killed at least 10 civilians Saturday after targeting a local tribal leader, according to reports. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The bomber detonated himself near the compound of the provincial governor’s office. Sayed Maqsood Pacha, deputy provincial police chief, said that the death toll could go up to 11, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
"A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle detonated his explosives in a market in Asadabad the provincial capital, 10 people were killed and over 40 were injured," Ghani Mosamem, spokesman for the provincial governor, told AFP.
Gen. Abdul Habib Sayedkhaili, provincial police chief, said that local tribal leader Khan Jan was among the deceased, the Associated Press reported. Jan was vocal about his opposition to the Taliban and was leading a local uprising against the militant group’s fighters, the AP report added.
Although no group claimed responsibility for the attack, previous such bombings have been blamed on the Taliban, which stepped up attacks in the country since launching a summer offensive last April. The attack comes as the Afghan government and Taliban representatives are expected to meet in Islamabad in the first week of March for their first direct peace talks, officials said Tuesday, according to Reuters. After a meeting in Kabul, the Quadrilateral Coordination Group — comprising officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China, "expressed strong support for the upcoming direct talks between the Government of Afghanistan and authorized representatives of the Taliban and other groups," Reuters reported.