The ISIL (ISIS) armed group has claimed responsibility for a blast at a sports club in Kabul, Afghanistan, that resulted in the death of four people. The explosion occurred on Thursday evening at a commercial center in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood, which is predominantly inhabited by the historically oppressed Shia Hazara community. The hardline Sunni Muslim group stated on its Telegram channel that it used a parcel bomb placed in a room where Shia Muslims gather.
Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran stated that the police are still investigating the cause of the explosion. Initially, two people were reported dead and nine injured, but the revised toll now stands at four dead and seven injured. The Taliban authorities have not yet responded to the incident.
The blast severely damaged the sports club, located several storeys up in the commercial center. The explosion blew out all sides of the space, shattered windows, and caused damage throughout the block. Witnesses from the AFP news agency reported heavy bags used for combat sports training on the floor, some still hanging and pocked with fragments from the blast.
The Shia Hazara community in Afghanistan has faced persecution for decades, targeted by both the Taliban and ISIL due to their religious beliefs. The ISIL group, considering Shia Muslims as heretics, has carried out several deadly attacks in the same area in recent years, targeting schools, mosques, and gyms.
Images shared on social media showed a fire blazing in the sports club, with shattered glass and boxing mitts strewn on the ground. While the number of bomb blasts and suicide attacks has reduced since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August 2021, armed groups, including the regional chapter of ISIL, continue to carry out attacks.