KABUL, Afghanistan — Bombs exploded aboard two passenger vans carrying Shiite Muslims in the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif on Thursday, killing at least nine people, an official said.
The blasts follow an explosion at a Shiite mosque in the city last week, which killed 11, as Afghanistan grapples with a rise in attacks by the Islamic State terrorist group following the withdrawal of foreign forces last year.
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The group has claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack in a post on its Telegram account.
“The bombs were placed inside the vans; due to those blasts nine have been killed and 13 injured,” Mohammad Asif Wazeri, spokesman for Mazar-e-Sharif’s Taliban commander, told Reuters.
The public transport vans were operated and used by the local Shiite community, he added.
Shiite Muslims, who are a minority in Afghanistan, are frequently attacked by Sunni militant groups, including ISIS.
Taliban authorities who took over after the Western pullout said this week they had eliminated most of ISIS' presence in Afghanistan. But despite the assertion, attacks against Shiites continue in many parts of the country.
Last week, blasts tore through a high school in a predominantly Shiite Hazara area in western Kabul, the capital, killing at least six.