Explosion in Northern Afghanistan: At least 10 killed, 40 injured

KABUL: A powerful explosion at a Shia Muslim mosque in northern Afghanistan on Thursday killed at least 10 worshipers and injured another 40, according to a hospital official.
dr. Ghawsuddin Anwari, chief of the main hospital in northern Mazar-e-Sharif, where the explosion happened, said the dead and injured were taken in ambulances and private cars. The explosion at Sai Doken Mosque in northern Mazar-e-Sharif happened when dozens of worshipers knelt in prayer as Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, when the faithful fast from dawn to dusk.
Earlier Thursday, a roadside bomb exploded in the capital Kabul, injuring two children. That bomb was also aimed at the country’s Shiites.
While no one took responsibility for either attack, the bombings had all the hallmarks of a deadly Islamic State known as Islamic State in Khorasan Province, or IS-K.
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said in a tweet that the explosion went off in the median strip of a road in western Kabul in a predominantly Shia neighborhood. Two days earlier, multiple explosions targeting educational institutions in the same area killed at least six people, mostly children, and injured 17 others.
Hazara minority supporters called for an end to the killings. Hazaras, who make up about 9% of the population of the 36 million Afghan population, stand alone as targets because of their ethnicity – different from the other ethnic groups, such as Tajik and Uzbek and the Pashtun majority – and their religion. Most Hazaras are Shia Muslims, despised by Sunni Muslim radicals such as the Islamic State group, and discriminated against by many in the Sunni-majority country.
The Islamic State affiliate has previously targeted schools, particularly in the Shia-dominated Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood. In May last year, months before the Taliban took power in Kabul, more than 60 children, mostly girls, were killed when two bombs were detonated outside their school, including in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood.
Dasht-e-Barchi and other parts of West Kabul are homes of Afghanistan’s Shia minorities who are the most targeted by Islamic State-affiliated loyalists. However, no one has taken credit for the recent explosions.

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