The ISIL (ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for a deadly bus attack targeting the Shia Hazara community in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
The blast in the Dasht-e-Barchi district, a Hazara stronghold, killed seven people and wounded 20, police said on Tuesday. The attack was the second targeting the oppressed community in recent weeks.
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Security officials have begun investigating the incident, said police spokesman Khalid Zadran.
ISIL took credit for the attack, saying via its Amaq news outlet that it had “detonated an explosive device” on a bus carrying Shia Muslims, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.
The group claimed a deadly explosion in a sports club in the same neighbourhood that killed four people and critically wounded seven in late October, according to Taliban authorities.
The number of bomb blasts and suicide attacks has reduced dramatically since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, removing the United States-backed government. However, a number of armed groups – including the regional chapter of ISIL- remain a threat.
Afghanistan’s Hazaras and other Shia Muslim communities have faced decades of abuse and state-sponsored discrimination, including by the ruling Taliban. The oppression includes arbitrary arrests, discriminatory taxation, displacement from their traditional territory, and summary executions, according to United Nations officials.
Afghanistan is estimated to have a population of some six million Shia Muslims, the overwhelming majority of whom are Hazara.