Roadside bomb targets Taliban, kills 2 in Afghanistan IS hub

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Kabul: A roadside bomb struck a Taliban patrol in a stronghold of Islamic State militants in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing two people and wounding three, witnesses said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack bore the hallmarks of previous IS strikes against the Taliban. The two groups are bitter rivals, and IS has stepped up attacks since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.

Wednesday’s bomb went off in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province.

A Taliban district commander in the city confirmed the blast and said four Taliban fighters were wounded. The commander, who identified himself as Mubariz—and like many Afghans goes by one name—did not provide details about those killed in the attack, saying the investigation continues.

In recent weeks, Taliban officials have been reluctant or slow to release details about Taliban fatalities, in an apparent attempt to play down the extent of the damage being inflicted by IS.

The Jalalabad attack came a day after IS attackers set off an explosion at the gate of a 400-bed military hospital in the capital of Kabul, killing three women, a child and three Taliban guards said. Five assailants were also killed in the attack.

Taliban officials said guards prevented the attackers from entering the hospital.

IS claimed that one of those killed in the hospital attack was a senior Taliban commander who had played a leading role in the group’s Aug. 15 takeover of Kabul. Taliban officials said they could not immediately confirm the commander had been killed.

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