At least 40 people have been killed in multiple blasts in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, reported AFP. Deputy Interior Ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi told AFP: “The target of the attack was the Tabayan cultural centre. A ceremony was being held to mark the 38th anniversary of Soviet-invasion in Afghanistan when the explosion went off.”
Rahimi further told the news agency: “A ceremony was being held to mark the 38th anniversary of Soviet invasion in Afghanistan when the explosion went off. We have 40 killed, 30 wounded, but this is not the final toll. It might go up.” The interior ministry spokesperson further added that the main blast was followed by two smaller bomb explosions that did not cause casualties.
Islamic State’s local affiliate claimed responsibility for the blasts, the group’s Amaq news agency said in an online statement. The suicide attack was carried out by one bomber wearing a vest and followed three other bomb blasts in the same area, the statement added. Consisting of Sunni extremists, the local Islamic State affiliate view Shiites as apostates.
Describing the incident to a local TV channel, a man said he heard a “big boom” sound. In a statement to Tolo News, the man said he doesn’t know the number of casualties and that he fled the moment he heard the explosion. A university student, Mohammad Hasan Rezayee, told Tolo News that he had suffered burns to his face in the blast.
Earlier in the day, an explosion went off at an office of the Afghan Voice news agency in Kabul, killing at least four people, officials and witnesses told Reuters. The blast was the latest in a series of attacks on media groups in Afghanistan. Aghan media has previously been targeted by militants,
underlying the risks faced by journalists in the war-torn country.
Public Health Ministry spokesman Ismail Kawosi told Reuters that at least four people had been killed and 18 injured. The final toll, however,. officials say could be higher as witnesses said there were heavy casualties among students attending a panel discussion with researchers at the agency’s offices.
Kabul has become one of the deadliest places in war-torn Afghanistan for civilians in recent months, as the Taliban step up their attacks and the Islamic State group (IS) seeks to expand its presence in the country. The Islamic State group has gained ground in Afghanistan ever since it first appeared in the region in 2015. Since then, it has massively scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country’s Shiite minority.
(With inputs from agencies)