Eid festivities marred by a bomb blast in Afghanistan after 2 days of peace

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed at least 36 people and wounded 65 others in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

As ceasefires by the government and the Taliban took hold, security forces and insurgents celebrated and took pictures together for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. But at one of those celebrations in the eastern province of Nangarhar, an explosion went off Saturday afternoon, killing at least 36 people and wounding more than 65, among them civilians and members of both the Taliban and the Afghan security forces.

The attack came as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the government’s extension of a ceasefire with the Taliban, without giving a timeframe. In a televised address to the nation, Ghani called for the Taliban to also extend the truce, which is due to expire on Sunday after both sides agreed to halt hostilities for Eid. Ghani also said that in the spirit of Eid and the ceasefire, the attorney general’s office had released 46 Taliban prisoners.

Dozens of Afghan troops were being killed every day in the run-up to the cease-fires, raising doubts about whether a sudden cessation of fighting would take hold. But for much of Friday and Saturday, Afghans were happily surprised, stunned even, by how widely the truces had been embraced.

The blast that took casualties from both sides was a reminder of how complex the Afghan war remains. Even the smallest steps to build trust for peace negotiations are vulnerable to spoilers.

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