Afghanistan: At least two people killed as blast reportedly targets journalists’ gathering in Balkh

Sources report an explosion targeted the Tabyan cultural center in Mazar-e-Sharif city in the northern province of Balkh on Saturday morning where a ceremony was being held to honor journalists.

A source from the Taliban’s information and culture directorate in Balkh said that at least two people were killed in the explosion and 15 journalists were wounded.

Meanwhile, another source from Balkh’s public hospital said that 23 wounded were taken to the health facility following the blast in the city.

The source said the number of wounded might increase as the figures are from one hospital in the northern city.

But a spokesman for Taliban’s Ministry of Interior Affairs, Abdul Nafe Takor, said in a tweet that one security guard of the cultural center was killed and eight people, including five journalists and three children, were wounded in the explosion.

He said the blast happened at around 11:10 am at the center where a ceremony was underway, but the spokesman did not provide more details.

In a statement on the incident, Nai, an organization supporting media in Afghanistan, expressed concerns over the safety of journalists and criticized the lack of access to information about incidents of this nature.

The blast happened two days after a suicide bombing in Mazar-e-Sharif city that killed the Taliban governor of Balkh.

Afghanistan Journalists Center in a statement condemned the attack and called for a probe into the incident.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.