Asia

Afghan militants attack sports match in Paktika

Afghan Army soldiers secure the area in Koh district of Nangarhar province, Image copyright EPA
Image caption Afghan soldiers patrol the Nangarhar province, where IS has been gaining ground

At least nine people have been killed in a militant attack on a sports match in Afghanistan's turbulent eastern Paktika province.

Dozens of people were also wounded in the attack but no group has yet said it carried out the attack.

It came on the same day 300 fighters allied to so-called Islamic State attacked checkpoints in Nangarhar.

Two policemen were reported killed in the co-ordinated assault on security forces.

'Motorbike' bomb

The provincial police chief said children were among the injured in the attack in Paktika, close to the Pakistan border.

"The enemy had placed explosives on a motorbike and detonated it on the edge of the volleyball playground," said Zarawar Zahid.

There were conflicting reports about whether volleyball, cricket or football was being played at the time. The Taliban has denied that it attacked the game

Last November, at least 50 people were killed in an attack on a volleyball match in Paktika.

Earlier, a statement purportedly issued by an IS affiliate claimed a "big attack" had been carried out in Nangarhar, also bordering Pakistan and in an area IS refers to as Khorasan state.

A local official told the BBC earlier that government forces were resisting militant attacks in Achin district, and had killed 60 fighters.

Militants affiliated to Islamic State have have been gaining support in Afghanistan.

Governor Haji Ghalib said it was the first time IS fighters had carried out co-ordinated attacks in the province.

Locals in the province said the group had been torturing and beheading people and taking prisoners.

The attacks come a day after a special operation by government forces killed 51 IS militants, according to a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry.

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