Afghanistan: Dozens killed in ISIL attack near Kabul University


A suicide bomber blew himself up near a Shia shrine in Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least 31 people and wounding dozens, officials said, as the Afghan capital celebrated the Nowruz holiday marking the start of the Persian new year.

"We learned with deep sorrow that a terrorist attack perpetrated in Kabul today during Nawroz celebrations resulted in loss of lives of many Afghan brothers and sisters and left many others wounded", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"There were more than a hundred people gathered when suddenly the explosion occurred", Ameer Hussaini, a witness, told The Times. Instead, "he detonated his explosive on Kabul University Road, right in front of Ali Abad hospital, among the civilians who were on the way to shrine", he added.

He said the attacker was on foot. Afghanistan's minority Shiites typically celebrate by visiting shrines.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for this attack via its Amaq website, though both the Taliban and ISIS have carried out attacks in the capital in recent months, spreading terror and fear across Kabul.

Pakistan doing 'bare minimum' to help, says U.S. official
Police officials said the exact cause of the explosion was being investigated and there was no immediate claim of responsibility. The group also said that departure of American troops from Afghanistan remains a precondition for the group's talks offer .

Amid the deteriorating security situation, General John W Nicholson Jr of the US Army said in December that his country would deploy more troops in an advisory role to Afghan forces in 2018, on top of the 14,000 American soldiers already stationed in the country. Afghan officials often give conflicting tolls in the wake of attacks.

Both the Taliban and ISIL have increasingly targeted the war-weary city in recent months as United States and Afghan forces ramp up air strikes and ground offensives against the groups.

Afghan security forces personnel are seen at the site of a vehicle bomb attack in Kabul on May 31, 2017.

The bomber reportedly walked toward the Sakhi shrine and blew up his explosives when identified by the police.