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Suicide bomber kills six civilians in Afghanistan

A suicide bomber on Monday detonated his explosives at a gathering of tribal elders in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least six people in the latest assault on civilians.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province which is a hotbed of Islamic State (IS) jihadists. The blast occurred as tribal elders gathered at the residence of the former district governor to seek aid for war-displaced families, as Afghan forces step up anti-IS operations in the province.

"Six civilians were killed and six others were wounded in the suicide attack on a gathering of elders in Jalalabad," provincial spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said.

A police spokesman confirmed the toll, adding that the wounded were taken to a hospital. Taliban insurgents are active in Nangarhar, but the province also faces an emerging threat from loyalists of the Syria-headquartered IS group, which is making gradual inroads in Afghanistan – challenging the Taliban on their own turf.

Last week, IS militants had abducted and killed around 30 civilians, including children, in the central province of Ghor, raising concerns about the group’s expanding presence beyond its eastern stronghold.
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