Mon. May 23rd, 2022

At least seven people have been killed and nine others injured in a bomb blast near a minibus in the city of Herat, officials said.

At least seven people have been killed in a bomb blast near a minibus in the western Afghan city of Herat, officials said.

“Four women were among the seven killed,” the head of Herat’s provincial hospital, Arif Jalali, told AFP news agency on Saturday.

Herat’s Taliban commander, Mawlawi Ansari, told Reuters news agency that nine people had been injured.

The blast was confirmed by Herat’s intelligence office.

“Initial reports indicate that it was a sticky bomb attached to the fuel tank of the passenger vehicle,” said Sabit Harwi, a spokesman for the office.

Herat provincial police and the department of culture also confirmed the bomb blast. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Security in Afghanistan has improved significantly since a 20-year armed struggle by the Taliban ended with the group’s capture of the capital, Kabul, in August.

However, several attacks have been reported each week across the country, including some claimed by the ISIL Regional Division (ISIS). Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K).

ISKP has often been accused of this the country’s Shia Hazara target community with deadly attacks, and the area where Saturday’s blast occurred near a bus station is also inhabited by the community.

Herat is the country’s third largest city, near the border with Iran, but has remained relatively peaceful in recent months.

In addition to security-related concerns, the Afghan economy remains dire as support for the country has dried up amid the Taliban takeover. The international community remains wary of the group with the United States imposing sanctions on some of its leaders.

The United Nations estimates nearly 23 million Afghans – about 55 percent of the population – faces extreme levels of hunger, with nearly nine million at risk of starvation as winter sets in.

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