ISLAMABAD - Officials in Afghanistan say that at least seven civilians were killed and two wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in an eastern troubled border region. The violence happened just hours before Islamic State militants in the same region abducted 13 seminary teachers.
The Afghan Interior Ministry said Sunday the early morning blast took place in the Bargholi village of the Nangarhar province, which shares a border with Pakistan.
The ministry condemned the deadly violence as an “unforgivable and shameful” act of “enemies of peace and stability” in Afghanistan, and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.
No claim of responsibility
It was not immediately clear who planted the bomb in an Afghan region where the anti-government Taliban actively conducts insurgent activities.
Extremists linked to Islamic State, locally known as Daesh, have also established bases in several remote districts of Nangarhar and have regularly carried out atrocities against civilians, according to Afghan and American military officials.
They say many former members of the anti-state Pakistani Taliban militants filled IS ranks in Afghanistan after fleeing military operations in the neighboring country.
Seminary teachers abducted
Separately, a provincial official in Nangarhar confirmed to VOA that a group of Daesh militants raided a religious seminary in Deh Bala district early Sunday and seized 13 teachers and took them to an unknown destination.
The incident happened just two days after IS extremists set fire to around 70 civilian houses in a neighboring district in their bid to force the population from the area so they could retake former bases there, according to Afghan officials.
Peace negotiator dismissed
Meanwhile, the Afghan national unity government has dismissed one of its senior peace negotiators for making controversial remarks in favor of the Taliban, which sparked nationwide condemnation and calls for the official’s immediate removal.
Abdul Haim Mujahid of the Afghan High Peace Council, which is tasked to promote peace and reconciliation with anti-government armed groups, in a recent statement referred to the Taliban as “angels of peace.”
An official announcement by the office of Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, while condemning the remarks and ordering Mujahid’s removal from the Council, vowed not to allow anyone to praise those “who are killing innocent Afghan men, women and children, and destroying property.”
Mujahid served as ambassador to the United Nations when the Taliban was in control of Afghanistan before the U.S.-led military invasion removed the Islamist group from power in late 2001. He later abandoned the Taliban and joined the Afghan mainstream politics.