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At least nine killed by bomb blasts on minibuses in Afghan city

Published: Updated:

Two bomb blasts aboard separate minibuses killed at least nine people on Thursday in Mazar-e-Sharif, police said, a week after a deadly explosion rocked a Shia mosque in the northern Afghan city.

The number of violent public attacks has fallen since the Taliban returned to power last August, but the Sunni ISIS group has continued to target Shias, who they view as heretics.

Thursday’s blasts occurred within minutes of each other in different districts of Mazar-e-Sharif as commuters were heading home to break their dawn to dusk Ramadan fast, Balkh provincial police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP.

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“The targets appear to be Shia passengers,” he said, adding 13 people were wounded in the blasts.

“The enemies of Afghanistan are creating tension and division among our people.”

No group has so far claimed the bombings.

The blasts came just days after a deadly bomb attack at a Shia mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif killed at least 12 worshipers and wounded scores more.

A separate bomb attack at another mosque in the northern city of Kunduz last week targeted the minority Sufi community and killed at least 36 people at Friday prayers.

In another attack, also targeting Shias, two bombs detonated at a school in Kabul, killing six students.

The extremist ISIS claimed the mosque attack in Mazar-e-Sharif, but no group has so far taken responsibility for the bombing in Kunduz.

Shia Afghans, who are mostly from the Hazara community, make up between 10 and 20 percent of Afghanistan’s population of 38 million.

The regional branch of ISIS in Sunni-majority Afghanistan has repeatedly targeted Shias and minorities such as Sufis, who follow a mystical branch of Islam.

Taliban officials insist their forces have defeated ISIS, but analysts say the extremist group is a key security challenge.

Read more:

At least 11 killed or injured in Kunduz, Afghanistan blast: Official

Blast hits mosque in northern Afghanistan: Police

Taliban stop dozens trying to ‘illegally’ leave Afghanistan by air, detain women

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