Taliban: Bomb blast kills 2 in Kabul’s Shiite neighborhood

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ISLAMABAD (AP) — A bomb exploded Saturday in a Shia minority neighborhood in the Afghan capital, killing at least two people and injuring 22, a Taliban official said.

According to Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, the blast occurred in the Puli-e Sokhta area, west of Kabul. One of the injured was in critical condition, he added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but blame is likely to fall on the Islamic State group, which has targeted Afghanistan’s Shia minority in large-scale attacks in the past.

ISIS’s regional affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan province, has escalated attacks on mosques and minorities across the country since the Taliban took power last August.

IS, which emerged in eastern Afghanistan in 2014, is seen as the biggest security challenge facing the country’s new Taliban leadership. After taking power a year ago, the Taliban launched a massive campaign of repression against IS.

On Friday, a bomb hidden in a cart exploded near a mosque in another Shiite neighborhood of Kabul, killing at least eight people and injuring 18. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack.

A shootout between Taliban and IS gunmen on Wednesday left five dead, including two Taliban fighters, near the Sakhi shrine in the Afghan capital’s Karti Sakhi district. The attack came amid preparations for Ashura, which commemorates the 7th century death in battle of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

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