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August 20, 2019

Scores hurt as series of blasts rock Jalalabad: Pakistan condemns blasts

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August 20, 2019

JALALABAD: Scores of people including children were wounded on Monday after a series of explosions shook the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, as the country’s independence day was marred by bloodshed.

As many as 10 blasts were reported in and around the city in Nangarhar province, authorities said and casualty numbers rose as the day wore on. "The explosions were caused by IEDs in different parts of the city and as groups of people were celebrating independence day," the Nangarhar governor’s spokesman said. Zaher Adel, a spokesman for a local hospital, said 66 wounded people had been brought in.

This year’s August 19 celebrations mark 100 years of Afghan independence from British influence. The day was supposed to be one of national pride and unity, but was overshadowed by an IS suicide attack on Saturday on a crowded Kabul wedding hall that killed at least 63 people.

In Kabul, locals took to the streets to wave the black-red-and-green Afghan flag, but several public events to commemorate the date were scrapped as Kabul mourns and due to fears of a fresh attack.

"We postponed the celebrations to honour the victims, but we will definitely take revenge for our people," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said. "We will avenge the blood of our people, every drop of it."

APP adds: Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned fresh spate of bomb blasts in Afghanistan's Jalalabad city, saying the cowardly attacks manifested "desperation of terrorist outfits and spoilers as hopes for peace, stability and national unity grew stronger".

"Pakistan remains a steadfast partner of Afghanistan in the joint efforts to defeat all designs aimed at perpetuating instability in the region," the Foreign Office said in a statement. "We continue to firmly stand together with the Afghan nation in these testing times. We also pray for the early recovery of dozens of people, reportedly injured in today’s attacks," it added.

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