ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - A suicide blast in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 8 people Thursday and wounded 16 others.
Officials said the explosion in Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province, ripped through a crowd outside the residence of a former district police commander.
A provincial government spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, said the victims were supporters of the commander and demanded his reinstatement.
Islamic State, through its propaganda media wing of Amaq, took credit for the bombing, saying it killed and wounded more than 50 people.
The attack came hours after Khogyani confirmed to VOA that self-proclaimed Islamic State members had beheaded 15 of their own fighters in Nangarhar’s volatile Achin district.
He said the slaying took place overnight in the remote Momand Dara area and the decapitated corpses could still be seen lying there. Khogyani suggested the incident was the outcome of “internal rifts.”
Afghan media reports said the men were murdered for intending to quit IS and join a government peace process.
IS militants have their strongholds in Achin and adjoining Afghan districts, and the terrorist locations have come under routine attacks by Afghan security forces backed by U.S. airpower. The terrorist group has not yet offered any comments about the incident.
Meanwhile, Afghan officials and Georgia’s Defense Ministry have confirmed three Georgian soldiers were wounded when their convoy was hit by a suicide bomber near the Bagram airfield north of Kabul.
The bombing of a convoy of NATO-led Resolute Support mission took place Wednesday evening in the Qarabagh district just 20 kilometers from Bagram, the largest U.S.-run military base in the country.
The soldiers were receiving medical treatment at the base, and their condition was “stable and their life is not under threat,” according to the Georgian ministry.
The Afghan government in a statement expressed its “deepest sympathy to the government and family members” of Georgia’s security personnel.
With 885 troops, Georgia is the largest non-NATO contributor to the military mission tasked to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces. Georgia has lost 32 soldiers, and about 280 others have been wounded in conflict-related incidents in Afghanistan since joining the U.S.-led military mission in 2001.