City of Jalalabad in Afghanistan was left in deep mourning and shock as eight people died and 45 were left wounded, as a terrorist attack targeted a night cricket match with series of explosions.
The blasts exploded among spectators crowded into the stadium at around 11 pm on Friday evening as they watched the local Ramadan Cup, the provincial governor's office said. The organizer of the match Hedayatullah Zahir was also killed in the series of explosions. He has organized the night tournament in the Nangarhar province as a way to "demolish insurgency darkness with peace".
The city is the home to Afghanistan’s most famous cricketer Rashid Khan, who is currently in India, playing in IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad, was deeply saddened by the event. He took to Twitter to share a message.
You will be missed bro #RIP you did lots of hard work always tried to make Nengrahar shining City ???????? Allah De Tolo shahedano ta janatona naseeb kre Aw Zakhmyano ta de rogh sehat pe dua yma ???????????????????????? #nangrahar #Blast #RamadanCup pic.twitter.com/p00P0Elsmb— Rashid Khan (@rashidkhan_19) May 19, 2018
Afghanistan’s opening batsman Karim Sadiq, who was present at the venue, escaped unhurt and then helped to carry victims treatment after the blasts.
Shafiq Stanikzai, the Afghanistan Cricket Board chief executive, wrote on Twitter, "I strongly condemn the attacks last night during a local cricket tournament in Jalalabad, Nangarhar. Cricket has been a source of happiness and pride for all Afghans, it has played a key role in bringing peace and uniting people. These attacks are against peace, unity, and humanity."
ICC chief executive David Richardson too condemned the attack and said, "We are saddened to hear of the terrorist attack on a cricket match in Afghanistan and extend our thoughts and sympathy to the families of those killed and the wider cricket family there."
Condemnation of the attacks also came from former Pakistan captain and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party, Imran Khan who tweeted, “Condemn the terrorist attack in Jalalabad on a cricket ground while the match was in progress last night. It is sad that the emerging Afghan cricketers, who have brought so much joy to their war-torn country, are being targeted.”
Condemn the terrorist attack in Jalalabad on a cricket ground while match was in progress last night. It is sad that the emerging Afghan cricketers, who have brought so much joy to their war-torn country, are being targeted.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 19, 2018
Cricket has become the favorite sport for many in Afghanistan after the end of Taliban regime in the nation. The country has made leaps in international cricket, playing in ICC World Cup 2015 and will also feature in the 2019 World Cup in England, after winning the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe recently.
Afghanistan will play their first ever Test match against India next month, at Bengaluru's M Chinnaswamy Stadium.