Accessibility links

Breaking News

IS Claims Bomb Attack That Targeted Afghan Journalists

An injured man is led out of a building after a bomb blast, in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Afghanistan's Balkh province, March 11, 2023.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Sunday for a bomb attack that killed a security guard and wounded a group of journalists and children in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif this week.

Saturday's bombing occurred at an event honoring Afghanistan's journalists and came two days after a suicide bomber killed the Taliban governor of Balkh province in an attack also claimed by IS.

The attack against journalists was caused by a "parcel bomb that IS fighters managed to place and detonate" at the event held at a cultural center in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, IS said in a statement on its Amaq news agency website.

"The blast targeted a rally held inside a Shiite center to reward several journalists working in agencies involved in the war and instigation against IS," the statement said.

A security guard was killed, while five journalists and three children were wounded in the bomb attack, police said.

The governor of Balkh, Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, was killed Thursday by a suicide bomber at his office in Mazar-i-Sharif.

That attack was also claimed by IS.

The killing of Muzammil, known for fighting IS jihadis, marked one of the highest-level attacks since the Taliban stormed back to power in 2021.

Violence across Afghanistan has dramatically dropped since the Taliban seized control, but the security situation has again deteriorated with IS claiming several deadly attacks.

The Taliban and IS share an austere Sunni Islamist ideology, but the latter are fighting to establish a global "caliphate" instead of the Taliban's more inward-looking aim of ruling an independent Afghanistan.

IS attacks in Afghanistan have often targeted the minority Shiite and Sufi communities, as well as foreigners and foreign interests.