At least 9 killed in blasts in Afghan Shiite vans

At least 9 killed in blasts in Afghan Shiite vans

KABUL, Afghanistan - Bombs exploded aboard two passenger vans carrying Shiite Muslims in the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e- Sharif on Thursday, killing at least nine people, an official said.

After the withdrawal of foreign forces last year, the explosion at a Shiite mosque in the city last week killed 11, as Afghanistan grapples with a rise in attacks by the Islamic State.

The group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack in a post on its Telegram account.

The bombs were placed inside the vans and nine were killed and 13 wounded due to the blasts, said Mohammad Asif Wazeri spokesman for Mazar-e-Shif's Taliban commander, Mohammad Asif Wazeri.

He said that the public transport vans were operated and used by the local Shiite community.

Shiite Muslims, who are a minority in Afghanistan, are frequently attacked by Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State.

Taliban authorities who took over after the Western pullout said this week they had eliminated most of the Islamic State presence in Afghanistan. There are still attacks against Shiites in many parts of the country, despite the assertion.

Last week, there were blasts tore through a high school in a predominantly Shiite Hazara area in western Kabul, the capital, killing at least six.