An Afghan woman walks past the site of a suicide attack in Jalalabad on Saturday gthat left 22 people dead and injured more than 100.
KABUL—Militants allied with Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near a bank in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Saturday that killed at least 33 people and wounded more than 100, according to officials and local residents.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said in a statement that a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vest in a line of people queuing up to collect salaries near the New Kabul Bank branch in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, at the beginning of the workday Saturday.
In a statement released Saturday and in calls to local reporters, a pro-Islamic State group calling itself the Province of Khurasan posted a photo of the alleged suicide bomber, a masked man named as Abu Mohammad Khurasani.
At least 33 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Saturday. Militants linked with Islamic State claimed responsibility.
“Many congratulations to all on the first fedayeen attack by the Wilayah Khurasan,” a statement on Twitter in Urdu, one of the main languages of Pakistan, read. “Fedayeen” refers to suicide attackers.
The attack appears to be the first major operation by militants loyal to Islamic State in Afghanistan. Afghan and international officials say they have seen signs of recruitment and propagandizing by the group, which holds swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq and claims adherents in other parts of the Middle East. Afghan and Pakistani militants pledged their allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi this year, and unveiled the movement’s leadership structure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a region they refer to by a historical name, Khurasan.
But the main challenge to the Afghan government is the Taliban, who have waged a long-running campaign of bombings and attacks on government targets. Immediately after Saturday’s attack, the Taliban issued a statement condemning the bombings and denying involvement.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan have reached record levels in recent months. The United Nations says about 3,700 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict last year, making it the most violent year since the U.S.-led invasion of 2001.