11 killed in Islamic State blast in Afghanistan

11 killed in Islamic State blast in Afghanistan

A health official said on Thursday that an explosion claimed by the Islamic State group at a Shiite mosque in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e- Sharif killed 11 people, one of a series of blasts around the country.

A separate blast caused 11 more deaths in Kunduz, another northern Afghan city, according to a provincial health official.

According to a statement on the group's Telegram channel, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Mazar-e Sharif attack.

At least six people were killed during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and two days after blasts tore through a high school in a predominantly Shiite Hazara area in western Kabul.

A blast happened in the 2nd district inside a Shiite mosque, Mohammad Asif Wazeri, spokesman for the Taliban commander in Mazar-e- Sharif, told Reuters.

Zia Zendani, a spokesman for the provincial health authority, said 11 people had been killed and 32 wounded in the blast.

Sunni militant groups, including Islamic State, target the Shiite community, a religious minority in Afghanistan.

According to Najeebullah Sahel, Kunduz's provincial health authority, 11 killed or wounded people had been killed in a separate explosion.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said a roadside blast had targeted a van of military mechanics in Kunduz and that school students were among the wounded.

He said another roadside blast in the capital, Kabul, had wounded three, including a child.

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan on human rights, condemned the blasts.

A resident of Mazar-e Sharif said she was shopping with her sister in a nearby market when she heard a large explosion and saw smoke coming from the area around the mosque.

The woman, who refused to be named, said the shop's glass was broken and it was very crowded and everyone started to run.

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers say they have secured the country since taking power in August, but international officials and analysts say the risk of a resurgence in militancy remains and the Islamic State militant group has claimed several attacks.