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UN Condemns Deadly Attack On Afghan Cricket Match


Players offering prayer in a cricket stadium that was later bit by blasts.
Players offering prayer in a cricket stadium that was later bit by blasts.

The United Nations has condemned an attack at a sports stadium in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad that killed at least eight civilians and wounded 55 others.

Four explosives were detonated in the stadium as people gathered after evening prayers at the start of the holy month of Ramadan to watch a match between two local teams on May 18.

Two of the explosives were detonated inside the stadium, and the other two outside, timed in an apparent attempt to target those fleeing the first blasts.

"I am outraged by this attack that used four bombs carefully calculated to kill and maim civilians watching a cricket match," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), in a statement on May 19. "This cold and brutal act can have no justification whatsoever; those responsible must be held accountable."

Many of the wounded were in critical condition in hospital.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although both the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) extremist group are active in the area.

In September 2017, the IS group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a cricket match in the capital, Kabul, that left three dead and five injured.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also condemned the attack in a statement on May 19.

"The terrorists did not stop killing our people even during the holy month of Ramadan....By carrying out a terrorist attack in a populated sport stadium, once again they have proved that they are not bound to any creed or religion, and they are the enemy of humanity," Ghani's office said.

Nangarhar Province, on the border with Pakistan, has seen growing violence this year, most recently last week when a coordinated attack on the state accounts office killed at least 15 people.

Last week, the provincial governor was dismissed over deteriorating security in the province.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, Reuters, and dpa

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