An explosion at a busy shopping area in a predominantly Shia Hazara neighborhood of Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul has left eight people dead, and at least 22 injured.
The explosion, which took place on Saturday, occurred at a place where the Shia regularly meet. Militant group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, as per a message on their Telegram channel.
According to a senior medical official at a nearby hospital, eight people died and an additional 22 were injured. Video footage from the scene showed ambulances rushing to the site located near bus stations. The Taliban Interior Ministry has said investigation teams had been sent to the location of the explosion to inspect the site and help the injured.
The attack took place two days before Ashura, which commemorates the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) grandson Imam Hussain (RA). Earlier on Friday, a separate explosion in Kabul had left eight people dead and 18 wounded. The Taliban government of Afghanistan, which consists of Sunni Muslims, has said that they will provide increased protection to Shia mosques and neighborhoods. Sayed Kazum Hojat, a Shia religious scholar in Kabul, said that while the Taliban government had ramped up security ahead of Ashura, they needed to improve vigilance.