m3n4.net July 21, 2018

At least 29 killed in IS attack on Nauroz celebrations in Kabul

22 March 2018, 01:31 | Tara Lloyd

DS BLAST The explosion happened next to the University of Kabul

   BLAST The explosion happened next to the University of Kabul

Many in the crowd were minority Shia.

The figure could rise, however, with the health ministry giving a higher toll of 29 people killed.

The Taliban faces growing pressure to take up a recent offer by President Ghani of peace talks to end the 16-year war.

Many have been attributed to IS.

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United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres condemned the attack, calling Nowruz "a time of renewal and celebration" when the values of peace and solidarity should be promoted, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, adding "those who have organised this attack must be brought to justice".

According to media reports, Nasrat Rahimi added that the bomber blew himself up near the Kart-e Sakhi shrine and the Kabul University.

The shrine has been attacked before.

The frequent attacks in Kabul have led to public criticism of the Afghan government, which stands accused of seriously failing to keep the people safe and maintain security in the capital. A bombing in 2011 killed at least 59.

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Taliban gunmen raided the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people in January.

Wednesday's attack was the latest in a series to have struck Kabul this year, including one earlier this month that targeted the mainly Shi'ite Hazara minority.

"What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists and their backers chose the festive day of Nauroz to carry out their heinous act", it said. An investigation into the security breach was under way, and that anyone found to have neglected his duties would be punished.

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

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The Taliban control large swathes of Afghanistan - and IS militants hold sway in a much smaller number of districts.

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