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Blasts in Afghan capital kill 6 during New Year festival

At least six people have been killed and 23 others wounded in multiple explosions in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul during celebrations to mark Nowruz, the start of the Persian New Year.

 

The blasts reportedly occurred near Kabul University and the Kart-e Sakhi shrine on Thursday.

Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar announced the casualty figures, which were confirmed by the Afghan Interior Ministry as well.

The official accounts of what caused the explosions, however, were conflicting.

Police in Kabul said the blasts were caused by a total of three remote-controlled explosive devices. Police spokesman Basir Mujahid said a fourth device was defused near the university, and searches were underway for any other potential bombs. A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said mortar shells had been fired. And the Defense Ministry said on Twitter that three rockets had been fired.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called the perpetrators the “coward enemy,” without specifying who they were.

The Afghan Defense Ministry also said police had arrested one suspect and secured the area.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, AFP said the Taliban militant group had denied responsibly in a message to the news agency.

Last year on Nowruz, a bomb attack carried out by Daesh terrorists killed 33 people celebrating near the shrine.

The recent explosions came less than two weeks after the United States and the Taliban said they had made “meaningful progress” in talks that exclude the Afghan government.

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