JALALABAD: A bomb killed 14 women and children at a graveyard in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday as the country celebrated the Eidul Fitr holiday, officials said.

Haji Ghalib, a pro-government tribal leader and former district police chief, said the explosion had targeted his family at an all-female event to commemorate his late wife in the Ghani Khel district of Nangarhar province.

He said the mourning group was gathered over his wife’s grave to recite the holy Quran when the blast erupted, killing 14 people. “I’m shocked, I can’t talk,” he said.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, said: “Seven women and seven children were killed and four others, three women and a child are wounded.”

Earlier on Thursday, President Hamid Karzai delivered an Eid address that again urged the Taliban to halt 12 years of fighting as the country sought stability before next year’s elections and the withdrawal of Nato-led troops.

In a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan, Karzai appealed to the Taliban to resist being controlled by foreigners and said the militants should support their own country. “You are working for others, (foreign) guns are put on your shoulders, and innocent Afghan people are being killed by it, homes are destroyed,” he said.

“Give up on it, be Afghan.” Karzai said the Taliban would be welcome to open a political office in Kabul, after their new office unveiled in Qatar in June triggered a collapse in efforts to start peace talks.—AFP

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