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IS claims responsibility for attack in Afghanistan

Herat is the country’s third-biggest city, close to the border with Iran, but had remained relatively peaceful in recent months.

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Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Saturday in the western Afghan city of Herat, it said in a post on Telegram on Sunday.

A blast ripped through a minivan in the western Afghan city of Herat on Saturday, killing at least six people, according to officials.

Herat commander Mawlawi Ansari told Reuters that nine people had been injured. The cause of the blast was not clear.

A health official in Herat, who asked not to be named, said an explosion hit a small van used for public transport just after 1800 local time and that three of the injured were in serious condition.

Since the Taliban took over in August, a series of blasts and attacks, some claimed by Islamic State, have taken place across Afghanistan.

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The attacks have heightened the new administration’s security challenges as the country spirals into an economic crisis.

ISKP has been accused of regularly targeting the country’s Shia Hazara community with deadly attacks, and the area where Saturday’s blast occurred near a bus station is also inhabited by the community.

Herat is the country’s third-biggest city, close to the border with Iran, but had remained relatively peaceful in recent months.

In addition to security-related concerns, the Afghan economy remains dire as support for the country has dried up amid the Taliban takeover. The international community remains wary of the group with the United States imposing sanctions on some of its leaders.

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The United Nations estimates nearly 23 million Afghans – about 55 percent of the population – are facing extreme levels of hunger, with nearly nine million at risk of famine as winter takes hold.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk