ISLAMABAD (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a minibus explosion in the Afghan capital late Saturday that killed at least five people.

The Sunni militant group said its members detonated an explosive device on the bus carrying Shiite Muslims, whom they called disbelievers, in a statement released shortly after the explosion Saturday. It was the first attack in the country in 2024.

Fifteen other people were wounded in the attack in Kabul’s western Shiite neighborhood of Dashti Barchi, according to police spokesperson Khalid Zadran, raising the toll on Sunday from an earlier figure of two killed and 14 wounded.

The Dashti Barchi area of Kabul has been repeatedly targeted by the Islamic State group’s affiliate in Afghanistan. The group has carried out major assaults on schools, hospitals and mosques, and has also attacked other Shiite areas across the country.

The United Nations Assistance mission in Afghanistan in a statement on X called for an end to targeted attacks on civilians and “greater protection for Afghanistan’s Hazara community and accountability for perpetrators.”

UNAMA gave a slightly higher figure for casualties, saying that at least 25 members of Kabul’s Hazara community were killed or wounded, but without giving a breakdown.

In November, in the same area of Kabul, IS claimed responsibility for a minibus explosion in which seven people were killed and 20 others were wounded.

On Oct. 26, four people were killed and seven were wounded when an explosion hit a sports club in the same neighborhood. IS also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Taliban Defense Minister Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid said on Dec. 31 that there was a 90% decrease in attacks by the IS affiliate in the past year.

The IS affiliate has been a major rival of the Taliban since the latter seized control of Afghanistan in August 2021. IS militants have struck in Kabul and in northern provinces, often targeting Shiites, whom IS considers to have abandoned their faith.

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AP

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