At least 26 people were killed in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul on Wednesday after a massive explosion rocked the city during the celebration of Shia festival Nowruz or Navroz, marking the start of Persian New Year. At least 18 others were reported to be injured in the blast. According to TOLOnews, the explosion happened near the Ali Abad hospital and Kabul University. The report added that several casualties were seen lying soon after the explosion which the media is reporting to have been caused by a car bomb. The interior ministry released contradicting reports saying that the attacker was on foot and had detonated the bomb near Kart-e-Sakhi shrine, which has been a target several times in the past. The attack is reported to have been targeted towards Shi’ites as people were walking away from the shrine after Navroz prayers, near Kabul’s main university. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to Afghan officials, the death toll may rise.
The recent blast highlighted terror threats to the city despite government promises to tighten security in the wake of the attack in January that killed at least 95 people and injured 158 people. Another attack by Taliban on January 20 saw a 15-hour-siege by terrorists at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that left 22 dead, including 14 foreigners. Last year in December too, Shia community was targeted in a suicide bomb attack. The attack killed at least 41 people and left 80 wounded.
According to reports, over 10,000 security forces have been killed and over 16,000 wounded. A United Nations data suggested that 10 civilians were killed everyday for the first nine months of 2017. In 2018, over 200 people have been killed in Kabul alone.