ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Monday issued a strong condemnation of the suicide attack in Jalalabad city of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

“We are distressed and grieved at the loss of precious human lives,” Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal said in a statement.

“We express our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and pray for early recovery of the injured,” he added.

Sunday’s blast killed at least 20 people, including several members of the small Sikh minority, provincial government officials said.

The blast, hours after President Ashraf Ghani had opened a hospital in Jalalabad, damaged shops and buildings around Mukhaberat square in the city, governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said.

A politician representing the minority Sikh community was killed in the blast. Officials said Awtar Singh Khalsa, who had planned to stand in October’s parliamentary elections, was dead.

Ghulam Sanayi Stanekzai, police chief of Nangarhar, said the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber who targeted a vehicle carrying members of the Sikh minority who were traveling to meet the president.

The Islamic State militant group claimed the attack in a statement via its online Amaq news agency, but provided no evidence for the claim.

Officials said at least 10 of the dead were Sikhs.