Attackers struck Taliban vehicles in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, witnesses said, killing at least two fighters and three civilians in the latest violence since the group’s takeover of the country in mid-August.
In one attack, gunmen opened fire on a Taliban vehicle at a local gas station in the provincial capital of Jalalabad, killing two fighters and a gas station attendant, witnesses said. A child was also killed, they added.
Another child was killed and two Taliban were wounded in a separate attack — a bombing of another vehicle. Another bombing of a Taliban vehicle in Jalalabad also wounded a person nearby, although it was unclear if that person was a Taliban official or not.No one claimed immediate responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks, although the Islamic State group, which is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan, took responsibility for similar attacks in Jalalabad last week that killed eight.
The Taliban and IS are enemies, and the attacks have raised the spectre of a wider conflict between the country’s new Taliban rulers and their long-time rivals.The Taliban are under pressure to contain IS militants, in part to make good on a promise to the international community that they will prevent the staging of terror attacks from Afghan soil. There is also a widely held expectation among conflict-weary Afghans that — despite fears and misgivings about the Taliban — the new rulers will at least restore a measure of public safety.