At least seven dead in Afghanistan terror attack

Herat has been a regular target for ISIS in recent years

A Taliban fighter at a checkpoint in Herat, Afghanistan. AP Photo

A bomb attached to a packed minivan exploded in Afghanistan's western Herat province on Saturday, killing at least seven civilians and injuring nine others, Taliban officials said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion, but the local ISIS affiliate has claimed credit for similar attacks on civilians.

In August 2017, suicide bombers linked to ISIS killed at least 37 people by detonating explosives in a mosque in the western Afghan city.

After Saturday's blast, local Taliban official Naeemulhaq Haqqani said investigations were continuing.

A Taliban intelligence official in western Herat, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP news agency that the bomb was attached to the van’s fuel tank.

Herat ambulance service chief Ebrahim Mohammadi said victims, including three in critical condition, were transferred to the provincial hospital.

Missing women

Since their return to power, the Taliban have imposed widespread restrictions, many of them directed at women.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Saturday called on the Taliban to find two women rights activists, Tamana Zaryab Paryani and Parawana Ibrahimkhel, who disappeared from Kabul on Wednesday.

“We urge Taliban to provide information on their whereabouts and to protect rights of all Afghans,” UNAMA said on Saturday. The Taliban have denied any involvement in their disappearance.

A witness said that at least 10 armed people claiming to be Taliban intelligence members broke into an apartment in Kabul on Wednesday and arrested Ms Paryani and her three sisters.

The women's rights activist posted a video on social media shortly before the women were taken away, showing them frightened, breathless and screaming for help. She said the Taliban were banging on her door.

Ms Paryani was among about 25 women who took part in an anti-Taliban protest last weekend against the compulsory Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for women.

In pictures: Militants in Herat during the Taliban takeover

Updated: January 23, 2022, 6:28 AM