Middle East

Afghan official: Gunmen kill 7 workers, bomb kills doctor

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least seven Afghan civilians were shot and killed by a group of gunmen overnight in the country’s east and a physician died when a bomb attached to her rickshaw exploded on Thursday, provincial officials said.

The Islamic State group in a statement claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying its fighters had detonated a so-called sticky bomb placed on the vehicle of a woman. The statement claimed she worked for the Afghan intelligence service in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

Gen. Juma Gul Hemat, provincial police chief in Nangarhar, said the shooting attack victims were workers at a plaster factory in the Sorkh Rod district. Police arrested four suspects, he added.

The laborers were all from Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Hazara community, according to Farid Khan, spokesman for the provincial police chief. Some had come form the capital of Kabul, as well as central Bamyan and northern Balkh provinces, to work in the factory.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for that attack, but militants from the Islamic State group have declared war on Shiites and frequently target the Hazaras. Eastern Afghanistan has witnessed and increase of attacks by IS, including an attack on Tuesday in which three women who worked at a private TV station were gunned down in Jalalabad.

IS claimed responsibility for killing the three women — Mursal Wahidi, Sadia Sadat and Shahnaz Raufi. The three left work together and were gunned down in separate attacks while on their way home, almost at the same time.

But many other attacks have gone unclaimed. The government blames most on the resurgent Taliban, who today hold sway over nearly half the country. The Taliban, in turn, deny any role in some of the attacks and blame the government.

In Thursday’s bombing in Jalalabad, the female doctor was killed while on her way to work at the provincial hospital’s maternity ward.

Meanwhile in western Herat province, 39 people, both military and civilians, were wounded when security forces launched an operation to arrest a local militia commander, sparking a firefight, the governor’s office said. The wounded, including three children, are being treated.

The militiaman was not arrested and remains on the run, said Wahid Qatali, the provincial governor in Herat.

IMAGE: The bodies of Afghan civilians, who were killed by unknown gunmen at a plaster factory overnight, lie in a hospital morgue in Jalalabad, Nangarhar, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 4, 2021. The victims were Hazaras, members of Afghanistan’s minority Shiite community. (AP Photo)

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