At Least Seven Killed, Many injured As Blast Targets Bus Ferrying Oil Workers of Hairatan Port in Mazar-i-Sharif City of Balkh Province

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What happened? At least seven people have been killed and six others wounded in a bus bombing in northern Afghanistan’s Balkh province.

Let’s deep dive into the developments:

  • Taliban’s police officials confirmed that a blast hit a bus carrying oil workers of Hairatan port in Balkh’s provincial capital, Mazar-i-Sharif.
  • According to witnesses, the blast took place around 7 a.m. at Sayedabad Crossroads in the third district of Mazar-e Sharif city.
  • A roadside bomb placed in a cart detonated as the bus arrived near a city square, said Taliban’s police spokesman Mohammed Asif Wazeri.
  • “Today at around 7am a blast took place in Balkh on a bus which belonged to Hairatan oil employees,” said Mohammad Asif Waziri, Taliban’s police spokesman for northern province of Balkh.
  • Sources at Balkh’s Avicenna Hospital said that 18 people were killed and wounded in the morning.
  • Some sources also said that 35 people were killed and wounded in the blast.

Why it matters? Balkh province is home to one of Afghanistan’s main dry ports in the town of Hairatan, near the border with Uzbekistan, which has rail and road links to Central Asia.

Zoom out: The increase in explosions in various Afghan cities has raised concerns among citizens. Several attacks have taken place in urban centres in recent months in Afghanistan, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State.

  • Besides this, last week, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) denounced the assault on an Afghan religious school that left at least 20 students dead and several more injured.
  • Meanwhile, in the month of November, eight people were hurt by an explosion in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. On November 2, eight people were injured in an explosion that was aimed at a truck carrying personnel of the Taliban’s Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, according to the spokesman for Kabul’s security division.
  • A few days ago, three gunmen attacked the headquarters of the Islamic Party, led by veteran politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and tried to storm it after detonating a car bomb near it.
  • Such attacks are common across the country, particularly since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year.
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