Afghanistan: At least 20 killed in Mazar bus bombing

The scene of a blast in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province. Dec. 6, 2022.

At least 20 people were killed in a roadside bomb blast that targeted a bus in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Balkh province on Tuesday morning, two sources aware of the matter said.

The blast happened near Sayed Abad Roundabout in Mazar-e-Sharif’s District 3 at around 7am local time on Tuesday, said Mohammad Asif Waziri, spokesman for Taliban’s police command in Balkh, adding that at least seven people were killed and six more were wounded in the explosion.

He said a bus carrying Hairatan Oil Company staff was targeted by the explosion.

Two sources, one from the provincial hospital and another from the victims’ families, said that at least 15 more were wounded in the blast.

The sources said that the incident was roadside bombing and that at least 50 people were in the bus when it happened.

A relative of a victim said on condition of anonymity that four of the wounded were in critical condition.

Two sources said that was near the bus was also damaged in the explosion and four people in the vehicle are among the victims of the bombing.

A vendor whose cart was near the bus on the roadside was also killed in the explosion. A photo on social media shows his body on the ground.

The blast has damaged shops and houses nearby, said a local resident.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

Meanwhile, another blast happened at a foreign exchange market in the city of Jalalabad in the east of Afghanistan on Tuesday afternoon, leaving at least nine people wounded.

A source from the province said that eight of the wounded were in critical condition.

This latest attack comes after an explosion at a religious school in northern Aybak city killed 19 people last week.

Daesh claimed responsibility for this incident.

On Monday, meanwhile, the Taliban said it had arrested a Daesh member for an attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul. Officials in Islamabad have said the attack was an attempt to assassinate its head of mission in Afghanistan.

Members of Afghanistan’s Shiite community are also routinely targeted in bombings, with attacks on mosques and schools in Hazara neighbourhoods claiming hundreds of lives.