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AFGHAN President Ashraf Ghani vowed to “eliminate” safe havens for Isis jihadists today as the country marked the centenary of its independence from Britain.
Mr Ghani was speaking after Sunday’s deadly attacks on a Hazara wedding in the capital Kabul that killed 63 people and injured almost 200 more.
A resurgent Isis claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, which came ahead of today’s muted Independence Day celebrations.
Attacks occur almost daily from both Isis and the Taliban, who are vying for control of large parts of the country where the government is struggling to maintain order.
Despite ongoing peace talks between the US and the Taliban aimed at brokering a timetable for the withdrawal of troops seen as “an occupying force,” attacks have continued.
A Taliban spokesman condemned Sunday’s attack.
But Mr Ghani said today that they were equally responsible and “have created the platform for terrorists” with their own brutal assaults on schools, mosques and other public places over the years.
There were no signs of the violence abating as at least 63 people were injured in a series of blasts in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
No group had claimed responsibility for the attacks when the Star went to press.
Both the Taliban and Isis are known to be active in the area.
Spokesman for the Governor of Jalalabad Noor Ahmad Habibi said that 10 explosions had taken place in the city.
The Hazara have faced centuries of persecution in Afghanistan. They are seen by Isis as apostates deserving of death, with the jihadists carrying out abductions, extortions and violent killings in recent years.
The group is also targeted by the Taliban. Thousands of Hazara men and boys were massacred in 1998.
In 2001 the Taliban committed a mass execution of 170 Hazara people over four days in Bamyan province.
More recently in a 2015 attack in the southern province of Zabul, four men, two women and a nine-year-old girl had their throats cut with a metal wire after being abducted.
“We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood,” Mr Ghani declared.
“Our struggle will continue against [Isis], we will take revenge and will root them out.”
He urged the international community to join those efforts.
He also called on people in neighbouring Pakistan “who very much want peace” to help identify militant safe havens there.
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