Islamic State Affiliate in Afghanistan Claims Suicide Bombing
Explosion kills six, including members of country’s secret service, SITE Intelligence Group says
Photo: Afghan firefighters wash the road Wednesday at the site of a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed six people and injured 10. Islamic State Khorasan claimed responsibility, highlighting what appears an increasing IS presence in Afghanistan. Photo: Reuters
By Jessica Donati and Ehsanullah Amiri
Nov. 16, 2016 7:46 a.m. ET
KABUL—Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate claimed responsibility for a Wednesday suicide attack that killed six people, including members of the country’s secret service, in Kabul, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks global jihadist activity.
The division known as Islamic State Khorasan has claimed three other major bombings in the Afghan capital, including a suicide attack that killed more than 80 people at a July protest led by the country’s Shiite Muslim minority.
Wednesday’s attack was carried out by a bomber on a motorcycle and targeted a minibus carrying employees of a security unit that is responsible for protecting senior Afghan government officials, similar to the role played by the U.S. Secret Service, the interior ministry said.
Two members of the service died, along with four civilian bystanders. Another 10 people were wounded.
Islamic State Khorasan first emerged in Afghanistan as most foreign forces were withdrawing from the country in 2014. It has established a stronghold in eastern Nangarhar province, where it is competing with the Taliban for influence, despite sustained U.S. and Afghan military efforts to target its members.
The Sunni terror group’s July bombing was one of the deadliest incidents to strike Kabul in years and a rare act of sectarian violence in Afghanistan. The majority Sunni country has managed to remain largely free of the sectarian attacks that have plagued neighboring countries including Pakistan.
Islamic State is increasingly visible in Kabul, claiming a June suicide blast targeting Nepalese security personnel employed by the Canadian embassy, and an October assault on worshipers at a popular Shiite shrine during a religious holiday.
It is one of several militant groups operating in Afghanistan. The most powerful is the Taliban, which is fighting to unseat the country’s government and regularly attacks international and military installations across the capital.
The Taliban on Wednesday claimed they shot down a military helicopter flying an overnight mission in support of Afghan Special Forces in Logar province. The defense ministry denied the militants had a role in the crash, attributing it to poor weather conditions, and said rescue efforts were under way.
Habib Khan Totakhil contributed to this article.