Taliban being tested on promise not to let rival IS operate from Afghan territory as violence returns to country

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly roadside bombs targeting Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan, raising the specter of wider conflict between the country’s new Taliban rulers and their long-time rivals.

A string of explosions struck Taliban vehicles in Jalalabad over the weekend, killing eight people, among them Taliban fighters. On Monday, three more explosions were heard in the city, an IS stronghold, with unconfirmed reports of additional Taliban casualties.

The Taliban are under pressure to contain IS militants, in part to make good on a promise to the international community that they will prevent the staging of terror attacks from Afghan soil. There is also a widely held expectation among conflict-weary Afghans that — despite fears and misgivings about the Taliban — the new rulers will at least restore a measure of public safety.

“We thought that since the Taliban have come, peace will come,” said Feda Mohammad, a brother of an 18-year-old rickshaw driver who was killed in one of Sunday’s blasts, along with a 10-year-old cousin.

“But there’s no peace, no security. You can’t hear anything except the news of bomb blasts killing this one or that,” Mohammad said, speaking at the family home where relatives and neighbors gathered for a memorial ceremony, drinking black tea and reciting verses from the Quran.

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