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Islamic State Claims Responsibility For Pair Of Deadly Explosions In Kabul

The remains of a minivan after one of two bombings in Kabul claimed by the local affiliate of Islamic State

A local affiliate of the Islamic State group in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for two explosions in Kabul that killed at least one person and wounded six others.

The casualties were reported after the first blast on November 17 in the heavily Shi'ite Muslim neighborhood of Dasht-e Barchi in western Kabul, Tolo News said, citing a Taliban official.

Three women were among the wounded, said Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry of the Taliban-led government.

A Taliban official who spoke to AFP said two people died, adding that initial information showed that the bomb was attached to a minibus. An investigation has been launched, the official said.

The second explosion happened several hours later in the Charahi Shaid neighborhood, also in western Kabul, Tolo News and other local news agencies said.

Eyewitnesses said there were casualties in the second blast, but the exact number was not immediately clear.

The militant Sunni group Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K) claimed responsibility in a statement posted on an affiliated Telegram account, saying the two explosions killed 20 Shi'a.

The blasts were the latest in a series of attacks in recent days claimed by IS-K. The radical group has emerged as the main security threat to the Taliban since it seized power in August.

The Dasht-e Barchi area is heavily populated by members of the mainly Shi'ite Hazara community, which has been the target of repeated attacks by IS-K militants.

Last week, a journalist was killed and at least four other people were injured when a bomb destroyed another minibus in the same area in an attack also claimed by IS-K.

Hazara represent Afghanistan's third-largest ethnic group. They have faced long-term discrimination and persecution in predominantly Sunni Afghanistan.

The jihadists earlier this month raided Kabul's National Military Hospital, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50 others.

The UN envoy to Afghanistan said on November 17 that IS-K had grown and now appears present in nearly all 34 provinces.

UN Special Representative Deborah Lyons told the UN Security Council that the Taliban's response to IS-K's expansion "appears to rely heavily on extrajudicial detentions and killings" of suspected IS-K fighters.

"This is an area deserving more attention from the international community," she said.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Azadi, Reuters, and AFP
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