Afghanistan has promised to intensify the fight against the Islamic State, or IS, after the group claimed responsibility for a deadly weekend attack.
President Ashraf Ghani declared Monday that his government would seek to destroy all safe havens used by IS.
His comments followed a bombing of a wedding party Saturday in Kabul that killed at least 63 people, including children. Nearly 200 others were injured. IS claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Ghani was giving a nationwide address to mark the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence. He said the government would attempt to destroy the militant group’s “nests.”
“We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood,” Ghani declared. “Our struggle will continue against (IS), we will take revenge and will root them out.” He urged the international community to join those efforts.
More attacks happened on Monday. A series of bombings hit the eastern city of Jalalabad, several news agencies reported. An Afghan official said at least 66 people were wounded in those attacks. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Both IS and Taliban militants operate in the area.
In his speech, Ghani said the Taliban must share the blame for the wedding bombing. This is because the Taliban's own deadly attacks over the years on schools, mosques, and other public places had "created the platform for other terrorists" to operate, he said.
The Afghan president did not speak about ongoing negotiations between the United States and Taliban representatives. His government has been critical of the process because Afghan officials have not been included in the talks. The Taliban has refused to hold direct negotiations with the U.S.-supported Afghan government.
The goal is to negotiate a peace deal to end nearly 18 years of fighting. A pullout of U.S. troops has been a long-standing Taliban demand. The U.S. military has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. About 8,000 troops from 38 other countries have also deployed there.
A major U.S. demand has been a guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used as a base for militant groups to launch terror attacks on American targets.
The U.S. envoy leading talks with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Sunday that the peace process should be intensified to help Afghanistan defeat the Islamic State.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the weekend wedding bombing “an attack against humanity.” U.S. President Donald Trump also condemned the attack. He told reporters Sunday that he does not want Afghanistan to become a “laboratory for terror.”
Trump said he had received information on the latest U.S.-Taliban talks and described the negotiations as “good.”
The United Nations said earlier this year that more than 32,000 civilians had been killed in Afghanistan over the past 10 years. It also said 927 children in Afghanistan were killed last year.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse and VOA News. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
haven – n. a place where you are protected from danger, trouble, etc.
revenge – n. the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you
platform – n. something that permits someone to tell a large number of people about an idea