ISIS claims responsibility for deadly blasts in northern Afghanistan
The ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for two deadly explosions in the northern cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz on Thursday, according to SITE Intelligence Group, an NGO that tracks the online activity of armed groups and extremist organizations.
Driving the news: The first explosion targeting a Shiite mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif killed at least 10 people and injured dozens of others, Reuters reported. A second blast targeted a minibus in Kunduz, killing at least four people, per the New York Times.
- AP reported that a roadside bomb also exploded in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul.
The big picture: While Afghanistan had seen relative calm in recent months, per AP, Thursday's blasts followed a series of explosions in Kabul on Tuesday.
- Those blasts hit educational institutions, including a high school in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, which is home to many from the Shiite Hazara community — an ethnic and religious minority frequently targeted by ISIS and other Sunni militants. At least six people, including children, were killed in that attack. No group has claimed responsibility.
- Since taking control of Afghanistan last August, the Taliban have vowed to protect the country's Shiite minority, who were persecuted under the militant group's brutal rule in the 1990s.
What they're saying: The Taliban condemned Thursday's attacks, saying "these crimes are the work of circles that have nothing to do with Afghan society."