A strong bomb exploded Friday close to a Shiite Muslim spiritual gathering in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing at the least eight civilians and wounding 18 others.
The regional department of the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group took duty for the assault.
Eyewitnesses stated members of the minority group, together with girls and youngsters, have been busy with annual mourning rituals in a Shiite-dominated western neighborhood of the Afghan capital when the blast struck.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Twitter confirmed the casualty toll, saying the bomb was planted in a pushcart and all the victims have been “harmless civilians.”
The federal government “strongly condemns this cowardly act,” Mujahid stated, including that the assault was the work of “the enemies of Islam” and Afghanistan. He didn’t elaborate.
The Afghan department of Islamic State, referred to as Islamic State Khorasan Province or ISIS-Ok, claimed credit score for plotting the lethal bombing and stated it had killed and wounded 20 folks.
On Wednesday, Taliban safety forces raided an “necessary” ISIS-Ok cell within the Afghan capital, killing 4 militants and capturing one other alive within the ensuing gunfight. Mujahid stated in a post-raid assertion that the militants have been “planning to assault our Shiite compatriots throughout ongoing Muharram rituals.”
The Sunni-based ISIS-Ok has claimed nearly all of the assaults on Shiite gatherings and worship locations in Afghanistan lately.
The Taliban have carried out common operations in opposition to ISIS-Ok hideouts in Kabul and elsewhere within the nation, claiming they’ve considerably degraded the terrorist group.
The bombing got here on a day when Afghans took to the streets throughout main cities, together with Kabul, to protest in opposition to an American drone strike that killed fugitive al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri early Sunday.
Footage on state-run Afghan TV confirmed protesters carrying banners studying “America is a liar,” “Down with America” and “Joe Biden, cease mendacity.” Rally leaders condemned the airstrike as a violation of Afghan sovereignty and worldwide legislation.
U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed late Monday the killing of the 71-year-old Egyptian terror mastermind within the aerial missile raid in opposition to his protected home in a fancy neighborhood within the coronary heart of the Afghan capital.
Friday’s rallies, apparently organized by the Taliban, got here a day after the ruling Islamist group claimed it had “no data” al-Zawahiri was residing in Kabul and warned of unspecified “penalties” if Washington breached Afghan territorial sovereignty sooner or later.
The Taliban stated the drone assault was a violation of worldwide legislation and the settlement they signed with the U.S. in February 2020 in Qatar, which known as for the U.S. troop withdrawal in alternate for the then-insurgent group’s counterterrorism assurances.
The Biden administration described the assassination of al-Zawahiri, who carried a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, as the most important blow to the al-Qaida community since 2011, when American particular forces chased and killed its fugitive founder, Osama bin Laden, deep inside neighboring Pakistan.
Washington stated bin Laden and al-Zawahiri orchestrated the September 2001 assaults on the U.S.
The Taliban seized management of Afghanistan final August when the Western-backed authorities and its safety forces collapsed within the face of the rebel assaults and all U.S.-led worldwide forces withdrew from the nation after 20 years of army intervention.
Taliban leaders have repeatedly assured the worldwide neighborhood, in keeping with the February 2020 pact, that they might not enable any group, together with al-Qaida, to make use of Afghan territory for terrorist assaults in opposition to different nations.
Washington stated the presence of al-Zawahiri in Kabul was a violation of the pact by the Taliban.
The drone assault got here because the Taliban have been making ready to mark their first 12 months in energy August 15. It has dealt a critical blow to the hardline group’s efforts to hunt worldwide legitimacy to its rule in Kabul and removing of financial sanctions.
No nation has but acknowledged the Taliban authorities, citing restrictions the Islamist group has positioned on girls’s entry to work and training in addition to different violations of human rights of Afghans.