Blast hits football ground in eastern Afghanistan

At least three people killed, 11 wounded in Khost province explosion as the Taliban says it is resuming operations.

At least three people have been killed and 11 wounded in an explosion in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost province.

“A motorcycle rigged with a bomb exploded during a football match,” said Sayed Ahmad Babazai, a police chief in the area.

The bomb detonated near a football pitch in Nadir Shah Kot district on Monday afternoon, the provincial governor’s spokesman Talib Khan Mangal told Afghan media.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Human cost of the Afghan war and Taliban attacks

The bombing comes after the Taliban said it was resuming offensive operations against Afghan security forces, ending the “reduction in violence” agreement that preceded the signing of a deal between the armed group and the United States.

Under the deal signed on Saturday, foreign forces will withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to Taliban security guarantees and a pledge by the group to hold talks with the Kabul government.

‘No commitment’

The four-part agreement sets March 10 as the date for an intra-Afghan dialogue as well as a prisoner-swap, which would see the government release 5,000 Taliban prisoners and the Taliban release 1,000 captives.

However, Ghani said on Sunday: “The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners.”

In response, the Taliban said on Monday it would not take part in intra-Afghan talks until the prisoners were released.

“We are fully ready for the intra-Afghan talks, but we are waiting for the release of our 5,000 prisoners,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters news agency.

“If our 5,000 prisoners – 100 or 200 more or less does not matter – do not get released there will be no intra-Afghan talks.”

Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, US General Scott Miller, said the United States expected the Taliban to “be very serious” about its obligations.

“The reduction in violence was a confidence builder … The United States has been very clear about our expectations – the violence must remain low,” Miller said in a tweet.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies