KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Bombers attacked Taliban vehicles in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, eyewitnesses said, killing at least two fighters and three civilians in the latest violence since the country’s takeover in mid-August.
Witnesses said in one attack, gunmen opened fire on a Taliban vehicle at a local gas station in the provincial capital Jalalabad, killing two fighters and a gas station attendant. He said that a child also died.
Another child was killed and two Taliban were injured in a separate attack – the bombing of another vehicle. Another bombing on a Taliban vehicle in Jalalabad also injured one person, although it was not clear whether the man was a Taliban official.
Witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks, although the Islamic State group, headquartered in eastern Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for similar attacks in Jalalabad last week in which eight people were killed.
The Taliban and IS are enemies, and the attacks have raised fears of a wider conflict between the country’s new Taliban rulers and their longtime rivals.
The Taliban are under pressure to stop IS militants, partly to fulfill a promise made to the international community that they would stop staging terrorist attacks from Afghan soil. There is also a widespread expectation among conflict-weary Afghans that – despite fears and apprehensions about the Taliban – the new ruler will at least restore the measure of public safety.