Kabul blast: minivan blown up in Shiite area of Kabul

A magnetic bomb was attached to a vehicle in the Dasht-e Barchi area of western Kabul

A predominantly Shiite area of Afghan capital Kabul has been targeted in a bombing attack. AFP
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A magnetic bomb attached to a minivan exploded in a predominantly Shiite area of the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, killing one and wounding five others, emergency workers and the bus driver said.

The bus driver, speaking to the AP at the hospital, said that at one point during his route, a suspicious man got onto the bus and a few minutes later, the explosion went off at the back of the bus.

The driver, who goes by a single name Murtaza, said he saw two passengers with their clothes on fire falling out of the back of the vehicle while other passengers escaped out the front.

The attack took place in the Shiite Hazara majority area of Dasht-e Barchi area of western Kabul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Afghanistan's Hazaras have been the target of repeated attacks by ISIS-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) – the local affiliate of the ISIS terror group.

A local man, who gave his name as Ismael, said he had reached the area a few minutes after the explosion, which occurred a day after an attack on a Sunni mosque in eastern Afghanistan.

“When I arrived, I saw the big flames,” he said. “It was a minivan which was targeted by a sticky bomb.”

He said a friend who had helped carried wounded to a nearby hospital said that at least three or four people had been killed.

Images shared on social media showed flames and a thick cloud of black smoke spiralling into the sky. At least two people suffered serious burn injuries, according to a director of a nearby hospital that specialises in burn cases.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s main spokesman, just said a fire had broken out in the Dasht-e Barchi area of western Kabul, killing at least one civilian and injuring two others. An investigation was under way, he said in a tweet.

The attack came just a day after an explosion hit a mosque just before Friday prayers in the Spin Ghar district of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, wounding at least 12 people, including the imam of the mosque, local residents said.

Despite the Taliban's assurance after taking control of the country in mid-August that they would bring stability after more than 20 years of war against US-led international forces, repeated ISIS attacks have undercut hopes of a drop in bloodshed.

Last week, US special representative for Afghanistan Tom West said he was worried about an upsurge in attacks by the Afghan ISIS affiliate and remains deeply concerned about the presence of Al Qaeda militants.

US officials believe that ISIS-K could develop the ability to strike outside of Afghanistan within six to 12 months and that Al Qaeda could do the same within one to two years.

Mr West said Washington is “worried about the uptick in ISIS-K attacks, and we want the Taliban to be successful against them. When it comes to other [militant] groups, look, Al Qaeda continues to have a presence there that we're very concerned about.”

Updated: November 13, 2021, 2:58 PM