Two separate explosions rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday, killing at least three people, including members of the minority Sikh community, and wounding four others, Afghan officials said. The first explosion hit a store in the heart of the capital, causing it to collapse and kill at least two Sikhs, per Afghan police officials. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but the Islamic State group has targeted Sikhs and other minority communities in Afghanistan, per the AP. Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz had different numbers, saying six people were wounded in the blast in the store and no one was killed. He said police were investigating what caused the explosion. The discrepancy between the two numbers couldn't immediately be accounted for. In Saturday's second explosion, Faramarz said a sticky bomb was attached to a police car and went off in northern Kabul, killing a police officer.
A nationwide spike in bombings, targeted killings, and violence on the battlefield comes as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government have stalled. Some of the targeted killings are claimed by the local ISIS affiliate, but many go unclaimed, blamed by the government on the Taliban, who've denied responsibility for most attacks. With growing threats from ISIS, Afghanistan's once-thriving community of Sikhs and Hindus has dwindled from as many as 250,000 members to fewer than 700. ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack last March in which a gunman rampaged through a Sikh house of worship in the heart of Kabul, killing 25 worshippers and wounding eight. ISIS claimed it carried out 82 attacks in Afghanistan in 2020, killing or wounding 821 people, including 21 assassinations. Most of the victims in its attacks were either security personnel or Shiite Muslims. However, the perpetrators of many targeted killings are unknown.
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