At least 8 killed in blast in Afghan capital

At least 8 killed in blast in Afghan capital

A Taliban fighter stands guard at the site of an explosion in front of Kabul International Cricket Stadium, Kabul, Afghanistan, July 29, 2022. EBRAHIM NOROOZI AP KABUL -- A bomb blast in a busy shopping street in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, killed at least eight people and injured 22, hospital officials and witnesses said.

The bomb exploded in a western district of the city where members of the minority Shi'ite Muslim community regularly meet. The Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack, the group said on its Telegram channel.

A senior medical officer said at least eight people died and 22 were wounded in a private hospital.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said an investigation team was at the blast site to help the wounded and assess casualties.

Video footage posted online showed ambulances rushing to the scene, which is also near bus stations.

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The attack occurred ahead of Ashura, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of Prophet Muhammad, which is marked mainly by Shi'ite Muslims.

At least eight people were killed and 18 injured in a blast carried out by Islamic State in Kabul on Friday.

The Islamic State does not control any territory in Afghanistan but it has sleeper cells that attack religious minorities in the country as well as patrols by the ruling Taliban.

The Sunni Muslim Taliban took over Afghanistan in August last year after a two-decade insurgency, and said they will provide more protection for Shi'ite mosques and other facilities.

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As a Shi'ite religious scholar in Kabul, Sayed Kazum Hojat said the Taliban government had ramped up security ahead of Ashura but should improve vigilance.

No up-to-date census data exists, but estimates say that the size of the Shi'ite community is between 10 -- 20 percent of the population of 39 million, including Persian-speaking Tajiks and Pashtuns as well as Hazaras.