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Jalalabad Suicide Attack Leaves 13 Dead, 14 Wounded

by The Associated Press /  / Updated 

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KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 13 people have been killed and 14 wounded in a suicide attack at the home of a prominent politician in the increasingly volatile eastern city of Jalalabad, an Afghan official said on Sunday.

Ataullah Khyogani, spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial government, said the attacker detonated his explosives, which were secreted in his clothing, around 10:30 a.m. at the residential compound of Obaidullah Shinwari.

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 Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack Sunday in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. PARWIZ / Reuters

Shinwari is a member of Nangarhar's provincial council and his family is active in local and national politics.

His father Malik Osman is an influential community elder in the Shinwari district near the Pakistan border who has spoken out against about the presence of ISIS in the region.

Khyogani said a guesthouse on the compound was crowded with people who had been invited to a family event.

"The number of casualties is likely to increase because there were so many people there," Khyogani said.

Enamullah Miakheil, spokesman for the Nangarhar Public Health Hospital, said that 13 bodies and 14 wounded people had been brought to the hospital so far.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying in a statement that as "terrorists lose their ability to fight Afghan forces on the battlefield, not they are carrying out terror attacks on residential areas."

The compound is close to the Pakistani consulate, targeted last week in an attack claimed by ISIS.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Sunday attack, but a Taliban spokesman posted a message on Twitter denying Taliban involvement.

Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar, has seen the number of threats and attacks rise in recent months as the presence of ISIS has grown in the region.

Related: ISIS Takes to Airwaves in Jalalabad

Gunmen affiliated with ISIS have fought fierce battles with the Taliban, with ISIS taking control of at least four districts on the province's border with Pakistan.

In one of those districts — Achin — Shinwari's nephew Nasim is a former governor. Achin witnessed anti-ISIS and anti-Taliban demonstrations on Saturday when hundreds of residents called for the central government to rid their region of the insurgents.

The attack comes a day ahead of a second round of high-level talks aimed at eventually brokering a peace deal between Kabul and the Taliban, who have been fighting for more than 14 years.

The talks will see representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China meet to formulate a roadmap for a dialogue that will eventually, they hope, include Taliban representatives.

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