At least 18 people, including Afghan security forces personnel, were killed and 22 injured in a suspected car-bombing in eastern Afghanistan, hours before a 3-day ceasefire was to begin in the country for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
The ceasefire, announced by the Taliban, comes at a time violence has risen across the war-torn country as U.S.-brokered peace talks between the militant group and an Afghan government-mandated committee await the completion of a prisoner exchange between the two sides.
The Taliban denied responsibility for the bombing in a statement from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
The explosion targeted Afghan security forces in Pul-e-Alan, the capital of the eastern province of Logar and civilian casualties are also feared, according to Shahpoor Ahmadzai, the spokesman for the provincial police.
He added it was unclear whether it was a car or suicide bombing, but that security forces had gathered for duty in the city to prepare for security measures for Eid al-Fitr, which will be celebrated in Afghanistan today.