Four bombs kill at least 12 in Afghanistan

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Four bombs ripped through minibuses and a mosque in Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 12 people, authorities said.

The number of bomb attacks has dropped across the country since the Taliban seized power last year in August, but several deadly attacks rocked the country during the holy month of Ramadan.

On Wednesday, at least 10 people were killed when three bombs placed aboard separate minibuses exploded in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a health and police official said.

“The bombs were planted on three minibuses in different districts of the city,” Balkh provincial police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP, adding that 15 other people were injured.

Najibullah Tawana, head of the Balkh health department, said three women were among the 10 killed in the explosions aboard the vehicles.

Another bomb exploded inside a mosque in the capital Kabul on Wednesday night, killing at least two people and wounding 10 others, the Interior Ministry said.

Kabul’s emergency hospital tweeted that five people had been killed in the mosque blast and 22 others injured.

Several ambulances rushed to the mosque in Kabul to transport the blast victims, witnesses said.

The ministry said the bomb was placed inside a fan in the mosque.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the four bombings on Wednesday.

It was not yet clear if Wednesday’s attacks targeted any specific community.

Dozens of civilians were killed in Kabul and other cities during Afghanistan’s Ramadan that ended April 30 in mainly sectarian attacks, some claimed by the so-called Islamic State group.

On April 29, at least 10 people were killed at a Sunni mosque in Kabul in an attack that apparently targeted members of the minority Sufi community performing rituals.

On April 21, a bomb at a Shiite mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif killed at least 12 worshipers and injured many more.

The deadliest attack during Ramadan was in the northern city of Kunduz when a bomb ripped through a mosque also targeting Sufi worshipers on April 22.

At least 33 people were killed in that explosion and dozens more were injured.

The Sunni-majority regional branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan has repeatedly attacked Shiites and minorities such as Sufis, who follow a mystical branch of Islam.

IS is a Sunni Islamist group, like the Taliban, but the two are bitter rivals.

The biggest ideological difference is that the Taliban wanted an Afghanistan free of foreign forces, while IS wants an Islamic caliphate stretching from Turkey to Pakistan and beyond.

Taliban officials insist their forces have defeated IS, but analysts say the jihadist group remains a key security challenge.

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