Explosions in Afghan capital Kabul kill six during new year festival

By Akram Walizada and Hameed Farzad KABUL (Reuters) - Several explosions in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday killed six people and wounded 23 in an attack during celebrations to mark the Persian new year, government spokesmen said. The attacks came on Nowruz, an ancient Persian festival to mark the start of spring that is widely celebrated in Afghanistan but has also faced opposition from some hardline Islamists, who say it is un-Islamic. There were conflicting reports about of the cause of the blasts near the Kart-e Sakhi shrine, in a heavily Shi'ite Muslim area in the west of Kabul

Reuters March 22, 2019 00:06:21 IST
Explosions in Afghan capital Kabul kill six during new year festival

Explosions in Afghan capital Kabul kill six during new year festival

By Akram Walizada and Hameed Farzad

KABUL (Reuters) - Several explosions in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday killed six people and wounded 23 in an attack during celebrations to mark the Persian new year, government spokesmen said.

The attacks came on Nowruz, an ancient Persian festival to mark the start of spring that is widely celebrated in Afghanistan but has also faced opposition from some hardline Islamists, who say it is un-Islamic.

There were conflicting reports about of the cause of the blasts near the Kart-e Sakhi shrine, in a heavily Shi'ite Muslim area in the west of Kabul.

An interior ministry spokesman said mortar bombs had been fired. The defence ministry said in a post on twitter that three rockets were fired at civilian homes and Nowruz gatherings.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's news agency AMAQ said, without providing evidence of its claim.

Broken windows and collapsed walls were visible on homes and shops near the blast site. Blood stained the side of the road.

"It was terrible," said Sayed Samim Sadit, a shopkeeper, who said he and his family were unhurt. "We were all sitting in our home and all the glass blew in on us."

Elderly resident Haji Rajab Ali said he saw two explosions in front of him and later awoke to find himself in hospital.

Afghanistan's defence ministry said police had arrested Thursday's attacker and secured the area.

The attack happened two weeks after a mortar attack on a Shi'ite Muslim gathering in Kabul that killed 11 people. Islamic State also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Shi'ites are a minority group in Afghanistan and they have been repeatedly attacked by Sunni Muslim militant groups.

Violence has been relentless in Afghanistan even though Taliban militants are in talks with U.S. officials.

The latest round of talks wrapped up this month, with both sides citing progress, but no agreement to end the 17-year war.

The Taliban are fighting to expel foreign forces and to oust the Western-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani.

(Additional reporting by Rod Nickel and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul, and Hesham Hajali in Cairo; Editing by Robert Birsel and Alison Williams)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.