KEY POINTS

  • At least 17 people were killed and 21 more were injured by a car-bombing near a shopping center in the city of Pul-e-Alan
  • Another 15 civilians were killed and around 80 were wounded in an artillery strike by Pakistani forces at a border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Both incidents occurred ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha and a three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government

A chaotic 12-hour period in Afghanistan has left over 30 people dead ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha and an agreed ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban.

The first incident took place on Thursday in the city of Pul-e-Alan, where a car-bombing took place hours before the ceasefire began. The bomb was detonated near a shopping center in the city while people were out preparing for Adha.

At least 17 people were killed and 21 people were wounded by the bombing.

“The terrorists have once again struck on the night of Eid al-Adha and killed a number of our countrymen,” Afghan interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said in a press release.

The bombing was reportedly targeting security forces in the city, though the Taliban have denied responsibility for it.

Friday marked the beginning of the three-day ceasefire between the Afghan government and Taliban, which Afghan officials hoped would be the first step to open peace talks between both sides. Both sides marked the beginning of the ceasefire with a prisoner exchange in a show of faith.

The Afghan government had released over 4,400 prisoners, with another 600 expected to be released. The Taliban said it had released over 1,000 prisoners in return.

The second incident took place hours after the car-bombing along Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing as part of an artillery strike by Pakistani forces.

The border crossing had been open earlier in the week to allow nationals from both countries to cross ahead of Adha, and it initial plans were to continue the crossings on Thursday. However, protests broke out when the border did not open and resulted in a coronavirus quarantine center and Pakistani government building being burned down. Security forces then exchanged fire before Pakistani forces called in an artillery strike on the area.

At least 15 civilians were injured in the artillery strike and 80 people were wounded, prompting a harsh warning from the Afghan defense ministry.

“If the Pakistani military continues its rocket attacks on Afghan territory, they will face retaliation by the Afghan army,” the ministry said in a press release.

Injured mourners are taken to hospital after a suicide bomb attack on a funeral in eastern Afghanistan Injured mourners are taken to hospital after a suicide bomb attack on a funeral in eastern Afghanistan Photo: AFP / NOORULLAH SHIRZADA