Bombings in the ISIS-K heart of Afghanistan have killed two and injured more than 20 in the first deadly attack since the US and British withdrawals last month.
Three explosions occurred in attacks on Taliban vehicles in the eastern provincial capital of Jalalabad on Saturday.
Responsibility was not immediately claimed, but Islamic State militants, headquartered in the area, are enemies of the Taliban.
ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State, last month claimed a bomb attack at Kabul airport that killed more than 170, including 13 US Marines.
Three people injured in the explosion were civilians and 16 were Taliban fighters, some of whom are in critical condition.
Also on Saturday, a sticky bomb exploded in the capital Kabul, injuring two. The target of the bomb was not immediately clear.
The Taliban face major economic and security problems as they attempt to rule, and a growing challenge by IS insurgents would further stretch their resources.
Bombings in Afghanistan’s ISIS-K heartland have killed two and injured more than 20 in the first deadly attack since US and UK withdrawals last month
Three explosions shook the eastern provincial capital of Jalalabad on Saturday in attacks on Taliban vehicles, although most of the victims were civilians, according to local media (photo, Nangarhar Regional Specialization Hospital where the victims are treated)
In Kabul, a new sign hung outside the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, announcing that it was now the “Ministry of Preaching and Guidance and the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Virtue.”
Employees of the World Bank’s $100 million Women’s Economic Empowerment and Rural Development Program, which was run by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, were escorted from the grounds on Saturday, said program member Sharif Akhtar, who was among those removed.
Mabouba Suraj, head of the Afghan Women’s Network, said she was surprised at the flurry of orders issued by the Taliban government to curb women and girls.
Working in the Afghan capital covered women’s ministry signs for a replacement in a medley of Dari and Arabic, reading ‘Ministries of Prayer and Guidance and the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice’
Meanwhile, the Taliban-led ministry of education on Saturday asked grade 7-12 boys back to school along with their male teachers, but there were no girls in those classes returning to school.
Earlier, the Taliban’s higher education minister had said girls would have equal access to education, albeit in gender-segregated environments.
‘It’s going to be really difficult. … Is this the stage where the girls will be forgotten?’ said Suraj. “I know they don’t believe in explaining, but explanation is very important.”
Suraj speculated that the conflicting statements may reflect divisions within the Taliban as they attempt to consolidate their power, with the more pragmatic within the movement losing out to the hardliners among them, at least for now.
Statements by the Taliban leadership often demonstrate a willingness to interact with the world, open public spaces to women and girls, and protect Afghan minorities. But orders to his supporters on the ground are contradictory. Instead, restrictions have been put in place, especially for women.
Suraj, an Afghan American who returned to Afghanistan in 2003 to promote women’s rights and education, said many of her fellow activists have left the country.
She said she continued to try to reach out to the Taliban and find a middle ground, but so far she has been unable to get the Taliban leadership to meet with activists who have stayed in the country to interact with women. talk about the way forward.
‘We have to talk. We have to find a middle ground,” she said.
Girls were banned from returning to high school in Afghanistan on Saturday after the country’s new Taliban rulers ordered only boys and male teachers back to the classroom
“All male teachers and students should visit their educational institutions,” a statement said ahead of the resumption of classes on Saturday. The statement, released late Friday, made no mention of female teachers or girl students
Also on Saturday, an international flight of Pakistan’s flag carrier departed Kabul airport with 322 passengers on board and a flight of Iran’s Mahan Air departed with 187 passengers on board, an airport official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the two flights departed Saturday morning. The identity and nationality of the persons on board were not immediately known.
International flights were the last to leave Kabul in the past week, while engineering teams from Qatar and Turkey have been working to bring the airport up to standard for international commercial aircraft.
A Qatar Airways flight on Friday has taken more Americans out of Afghanistan, according to Washington’s peace envoy, the third such airlift by the Middle East airline since the Taliban takeover and the frantic withdrawal of US troops from the country.