At least 35 people have been killed and 125 more injured in Jalalabad city, following a series of attacks that President Ashraf Ghani blamed on groups linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Speaking in Faizabad in northern Afghanistan, Ghani said: "In the horrific incident in Nangarhar (province), who took responsibility? The Taliban didn't claim responsibility. Daesh claimed responsibility for it.'' Daesh is the Arabic term for ISIL.

The first attack occurred at about 8:30am local time on Saturday after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the gate of the New Kabul Bank branch, according to Fazal Ahmad Sherzad, the provincial police chief.

He said that just hour after the first attack, another explosion happened near the Da Afghanistan Bank branch, just 60 metres away from the first attack.

A third attack occurred outside a shrine, but no one was injured.

Amrullah Saleh, former head of Afghanistan's domestic intelligence agency, disputed Ghani's claim, calling it a "intent to hide incompetence" of the government.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs said two other motorcycle bombs were defused in the vicinity of the earlier attacks.The victims were taken to hospital and police launched investigations, Sherzad said.

Sherzad said the attacks appeared to be coordinated as they occurred when government employees were at the bank branch to draw their salaries.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Haroun Mir, a political analyst in Kabul, however said that it is "still too early" to conclude that ISIL-linked groups were responsible for the attacks.

"We don't have hard evidence of ISIL activities in Afghanistan," he said, adding that the Afghan government is in a "difficult" position to blame the Taliban for the attacks, because it is "engaged in a dialogue" with the armed group.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, denied the group's involvement in the bombings.

"It is a sad incident. The mujahideen [Taliban] had no role in it," he said.

Five beheaded

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan prime minister, condemned the attacks, saying: "Pakistan would be happy to provide any assistance to Afghanistan to successfully fight terrorism."

The New Kabul Bank also pays the salaries of Aghanistan's police.

 

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said: "The attacks come at a particularly delicate time for Afghanistan - they are voting on 16 candidates for cabinet positions today.

"It's been six months since the president was elected and he still doesn't have a cabinet, so any violence will worsen an already unstable situation."

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, denied the group's involvement in the bombings.

"It is a sad incident. The mujahideen [Taliban] had no role in it," he said.

Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan prime minister, condemned the attacks, saying "Pakistan would be happy to provide any assistance to Afghanistan to successfully fight terrorism."

In a separate incident, five people have been beheaded in Afghanistan's southeast. The men, belonging to the ethnic Hazara community, had been kidnapped on Wednesday.

Their bodies were found in Malistan province. The Hazaras are a minority in Afghanistan and have often been targeted.

No group has claimed responsibility so far for the attack.

Source: Al Jazeera