Afghanistan: More than 20 dead and injured in two blasts

Dozens of people have been killed or injured in two blasts in northern Afghanistan, local officials have said.

The first explosion tore through a Shia mosque in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Thursday.

At least 11 people were killed, and more than 30 injured, a health official told the BBC.

The second blast saw a vehicle blown up near a police station in the city of Kunduz, and left four dead and 18 injured, a police spokesman said.

Najeebullah Sahel, from the Kunduz provincial health authority, said the wounded had been taken to hospital.

Afghan news outlet Tolo News reports that the explosion in Mazar-i-Sharif happened at Seh Dokan, one of the biggest mosques used locally by the Shia minority group.

The outlet gives a higher injury toll, saying at least 65 people were hurt in that explosion alone. Tolls remain fluid at this stage and liable to change.

Afghanistan’s Shia community is often targeted by Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State.

The blast is said to have happened while worshippers were preparing to perform prayers. Images shared on social media showed the site littered with broken glass and victims being carried.

One Mazar-i-Sharif woman, who asked for her name not to be used, told news agency Reuters she had been shopping at a nearby market when she heard a large explosion near the mosque.

“The glass of the shops was broken and it was very crowded and everyone started to run,” she said.

Thursday’s bloodshed comes days after two bomb blasts at Abdul Rahim Shahid high school in a mostly Shia area of the Afghan capital, Kabul. At least six people were killed and more than 20 wounded, officials said.

A nearby tuition centre was also targeted in a grenade attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for those bombings. Islamic State militants have attacked the area in the past.

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