AP

Islamic State claims Afghanistan airport checkpoint bombing

Jan 3, 2023, 9:45 AM | Updated: Jan 4, 2023, 8:53 am

Taliban fighters check the site of an explosion, near the Interior Ministry, in Kabul, Afghanistan,...

Taliban fighters check the site of an explosion, near the Interior Ministry, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. A bomb exploded near a checkpoint at Kabul's military airport Sunday morning killing and wounding several people, a Taliban official said, the first deadly blast of 2023 in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

(AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bombing near a checkpoint at the Afghan capital’s military airport that killed and wounded several people.

IS said in a statement late Tuesday that Sunday’s attack on the checkpoint in Kabul was carried out by the same member who took part in an assault on a hotel in the capital in mid-December.

The regional affiliate of the Islamic State group — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province and a key rival of the Taliban — has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in 2021. Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.

IS published a photo of the attacker identifying him as Abdul Jabbar, saying he withdrew safely from the attack on the hotel after he ran out of ammunition. It added he detonated his explosives-laden vest targeting the soldiers gathered at the checkpoint.

The military airport is around 200 meters (yards) from the civilian airport and close to the Interior Ministry, itself the site of a suicide bombing last October that killed at least four people.

Abdul Nafi Takor, a spokesman at the Taliban-run Interior Ministry, said the explosion left “several” people dead and wounded, without providing figures or further information. He said details of an investigation will be shared later.

Takor and Khalid Zadran, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, did not respond to requests on Wednesday asking for further comment.

The checkpoint — located on Airport Road, which leads to high-security neighborhoods housing government ministries, foreign embassies and the presidential palace — appeared damaged but intact.

Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban government, said at least seven IS members were killed during a Taliban operation in Kabul on Wednesday. He added that seven IS fighters were arrested from their hideout in the neighborhood of Shahdai Salehin.

A separate operation in western Nimroz province resulted in two more IS arrests, Mujahid said. Local residents from the area reported sounds of several explosions and an hourslong gunbattle. No other details were immediately available.

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