Islamic State claims suicide blast targeting Afghanistan minority community
Nine people were killed in the attack in Kabul on Hazaras, who are predominantly Shiite.
The Afghan president has condemned a suicide bombing that targeted a gathering of Shiite Hazaras in Kabul.
The attack, which claimed the lives of nine people, has been claimed by the Islamic State group.
President Ashraf Ghani’s statement, shortly after Friday’s bombing in western Kabul, promised that those behind the attack would be given the death penalty, if found and convicted.
He said the bombing was intended to frighten Afghans but that the perpetrators would not succeed.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State group in a statement posted on an IS-affiliated website said it was behind the Kabul attack.
The suicide bomber targeting the minority community blew himself up at a police checkpoint in western Kabul, killing nine people and wounding 18, officials said.
According to Basir Mujahid, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, the bomber was on foot and was trying to strike a gathering of Hazaras who were commemorating the 1995 death of their leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, killed at the hands of the Taliban.
The bomber came as close to the gathering as he could and detonated his explosives at the checkpoint outside, the spokesman said.
One policeman was among the dead.
Local Hazara leader Mohammad Mohaqiq told the gathering that the explosion was an attempt to terrorise Afghans.
He blamed the Taliban and the Islamic State, both of which have targeted ethnic Hazaras in the past.
Most Hazaras are Shiite Muslims, and Sunni militants consider all Shiites heretics and urge followers to kill them.
The spokesman for the health ministry, Wahid Majro, said several of the wounded were in critical condition and feared the death toll could rise further.
In other developments, the Taliban launched a deadly assault overnight on an army outpost in a remote region of Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, killing six soldiers and wounding five in a blistering hours-long attack, defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said.
Members of the local police who were sent to assist the soldiers were ambushed by the Taliban while on their way to the outpost in the remote district of Khwaja Ghar.
Ten local policemen were killed and nine were wounded in the ambush, provincial police spokesman Khali Aseir said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the assault and the police deaths.
He claimed the Taliban had inflicted a far higher number of casualties but the insurgents often exaggerate their claims.
The report could not be independently confirmed because of the area’s remoteness.