Security

Bomb attack on minibus in Kabul leaves at least 2 dead

By Salaam Times and AFP

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Residents gather near a damaged minibus after a bomb blast where two people were killed and five wounded in Kabul on November 17. [AFP]

KABUL -- At least two people were killed and five wounded in a bomb blast that hit a minibus in Kabul on Wednesday (November 17), officials said, the latest in a series of attacks in the Afghan capital.

The blast destroyed the vehicle in Dasht-e-Barchi, an official told AFP, in a suburb dominated by the Hazara Shia minority.

"Our initial information shows the bomb was attached to a minibus. We have launched an investigation," he said.

Different officials gave varying accounts of the casualties.

An AFP staffer was near the scene when the bomb detonated.

"I heard a huge explosion... when I looked around a minibus and a taxi were on fire," he said.

"I also saw ambulances rush to the area to take wounded and dead people to the hospital."

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Monday, another bomb exploded on a busy street in Kabul's fifth police district, wounding two individuals, according to officials.

And last week, a journalist was killed and at least four other people injured when a bomb destroyed another minibus also in Dasht-e-Barchi.

The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" Khorasan branch (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the attack, boasting it had killed or injured "20 Shia apostates" in the incident.

"Yet another journalist killed in Afghanistan," the Afghanistan Journalists Centre, an independent local media monitor, said on Facebook hours after that explosion.

Hamid Saighani, who worked for the Ariana television network, was at least the ninth journalist to be killed in Afghanistan in 2021, the monitor said.

String of terror attacks

ISIS-K has stepped up operations since August, and earlier this month raided the city's National Military Hospital, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50 others.

Hamdullah Mokhlis, a member of the hardline Haqqani Network and an officer in the Badri Corps special forces, was killed in a gun battle amidst the attack.

The group has also claimed several attacks in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province and a hotbed of ISIS-K activity.

The latest slaughter comes after a string of attacks in October.

On October 8, an ISIS-K suicide bomber targeted a mosque in Kunduz, killing about 100 Shia Muslims and injuring scores of others, according to locals.

The group said the suicide bomber "was from the Uighurs" and that the attack was in response to China's "anti-Muslim policies [in Xinjiang]".

About a week later, multiple explosions tore through the Shia Fatemiyyeh mosque in Kandahar city, killing at least 33 people and injuring 74 others.

ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for two deadly suicide bombings at Kabul airport on August 26.

The explosions killed more than 100 Afghan civilians and 13 US service members, who were protecting and processing paperwork for a large number of Afghans waiting for evacuation.

The latest estimates of ISIS-K's strength vary from 500 active fighters to as high as several thousand, according to a United Nations report in July.

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