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Three bombs hit Kabul, Kandahar; 134 injured, 59 dead

Even before Afghanistan recovered from the twin blasts today that already killed 59  people, a third blast occurred in Kandahar, the details of which are awaited.

A suicide bomber attacked a Shiite Muslim shrine in central Kabul on Tuesday, where hundreds of people had gathered to mark the festival of Ashura, Mohammad Zahir, head of Kabul's Criminal Investigation Department said.

Around 59 people were killed and 134 others injured, security and health officials said. The toll is expected to rise. "A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the Abu-Ul Fazil shrine," Kabul police said in a statement.

A security official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that it was believed the bomber arrived with a group of Shiite pilgrims from Logar province, south of Kabul.

"Victims have been transferred to many hospitals, but around 59 people have been killed, the number will rise. As soon as we get reports from all the hospitals we will announce the exact number," said Hashmatullah Stanikzai, spokesman for Kabul's Police Chief.

Another bomb targeted the Shiites causing casualties. The bomb was strapped to a bicycle when it exploded in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.

Police stand guard after the blast took place. AFP

The attack happened almost at the same time that a suicide bomber hit a Shiite mosque in Kabul.

"It was an explosion not a suicide bombing. It was some explosives hidden in a bicycle," said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, adding that four other people had also been injured.

Shiites were banned from marking Ashura in public under the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan until 2001. This year, there are more Ashura monuments around the city than usual including black shrines and flags.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either of the blasts from the Taliban or other insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan. The attacks came shortly after a major conference on Afghanistan's future, held in the German city of Bonn, 10 years after talks there which put in place an interim government after US-led troops ousted the Taliban.

The Shiite Muslim festival of Ashura marks the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hussein in the battle of Karbala in Iraq in the year 680.

Agencies