Explosion in north Afghanistan kills at least 10, injures 40

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A powerful explosion in a Shiite Muslim mosque in northern Afghanistan on Thursday killed at least 10 worshippers and injured another 40, according to a hospital official.

According to Dr. Ghawsuddin Anwari (head of the northern Mazar-e-Sharif’s main hospital), the victims were transported in private cars and ambulances. As hundreds of Muslims celebrated Ramadan by fasting from sunrise to sunset, the Sai Doken mosque explosion in northern Mazar-e-Sharif was witnessed.

Two children were hurt when a roadside bomb went off in Kabul’s capital. That bomb also targeted the country’s minority Shiites.

Although no one was held responsible for either attack the bombings reflected the deadly Islamic State affiliate known only as Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-K)

Khalid Zadran (Kabul police spokesperson) said that the explosion occurred in the median strip on a road in Kabul’s western area. This is a predominantly Shiite neighbourhood. Multiple explosions that targeted educational institutions in the same area two days earlier killed at least six people, mainly children, and injured 17 more.

Advocates for minority Hazaras called on the government to stop the killings. Hazaras, who make up around 9% of the population of Afghanistan’s 36 million people, stand alone in being targeted because of their ethnicity – distinct from the other ethnic groups, such as Tajik and Uzbek and the Pashtun majority – and their religion. Many Sunni Muslim Sunni Muslims hate Hazaras and discriminate against them.

The Islamic State affiliate had previously targeted schools, especially in the Shiite-dominated Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood. More than 60 children, mostly young girls, were killed in two bomb blasts outside their school in Dasht-e-Barchi, in May 2013. This was months before Taliban took control in Kabul.

Dasht-e-Barchi, along with other areas of western Kabul, are homes to the Shiite minority of Afghanistan. They have been mostly targeted by the Islamic State loyalists. However, no one has claimed responsibility for the recent explosions.

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This report was produced by the Associated Press writers Tameem Akhgar in Islamabad and Rahim Faiez from Islamabad

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