Two blasts kill at least 14 in central Afghan province

By: AFP      Published: 08:43 PM, 24 Nov, 2020
Two blasts kill at least 14 in central Afghan province

At least 14 people were killed in central Afghanistan on Tuesday when two blasts ripped through the city of Bamiyan, home to many members of the mainly Shiite Hazara ethnic minority, officials said.

"Fourteen people have been killed and 45 more wounded in two (bomb) explosions," Bamiyan police chief Zabardast Safi told AFP, adding that a traffic policeman was among those killed.

The explosives were placed in two separate locations in the city, Bamiyan police spokesman Reza Yosufi said.

Interior ministry spokesman Tariq Arian confirmed the toll.

"We are investigating the deadly explosions in Bamiyan," he said.

"This is an unforgivable crime."

No group immediately claimed the blasts, and the Taliban denied involvement.

In 2001, the Taliban blew up the giant, centuries-old Buddha statues that were carved into cliff faces at Bamiyan, which has remained relatively conflict-free as the war raged across other parts of Afghanistan.

Bamiyan is a popular tourist destination that hosts a network of ancient caves housing temples, monasteries and Buddhist paintings.

The province is home mainly to the Hazara community.

The mainly Shiite minority has often been targeted by extremists such as the Islamic State group and also by the Taliban in the 1990s.

In cities such as Kabul, Hazaras have seen repeated attacks in their neighbourhoods, including a brutal daylight assault in the capital in May on a hospital maternity ward that left several mothers dead.