Afghanistan: bomb in Kabul shopping street injures at least 22 people | Afghanistan

A bomb exploded on a busy shopping street in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday, injuring at least 22 people, hospital officials and witnesses said.

The explosion took place in a western neighborhood of the city where members of the Shia minority community regularly meet.

Video footage posted online shows ambulances rushing to the scene of the accident, including near bus stations.

The Taliban’s interior ministry said an investigation team was at the site of the explosion to assist the injured and assess the victims.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which preceded Ashura, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who is mainly characterized by Shia Muslims.

An explosion in Kabul carried out by Islamic State, a militant Sunni Muslim group, killed at least eight people and injured 18 on Friday.

IS does not control any area in Afghanistan, but it does have deadly sleeper cells targeting religious minorities in the country, as well as Taliban patrols.

The Sunni Islamist Taliban authorities, which took over Afghanistan in August last year after a two-decade insurgency, have said they would provide greater protection for Shia mosques and other facilities.

Sayed Kazum Hojat, a Shia religious scholar in Kabul, said the Taliban government had stepped up security for Ashura but should increase vigilance for any threats.

There are no current census data, but estimates estimate the size of the Afghan Shia community between 10% and 20% of its 39 million population, including Persian-speaking Tajiks and Pashtuns, as well as Hazaras.

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