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Deadly bomb attack hits press award event in Afghanistan

A bomb has exploded during an award ceremony for journalists in Afghanistan’s Mazar-e-Sharif city, killing at least one person and wounding five others.

The blast occurred on Saturday at the Tabian Farhang centre in the capital of Balkh province, said Mohammad Asif Waziri, the Taliban-appointed spokesperson for Balkh police.

It took place as journalists gathered for the award event at 0630GMT (11am local).

It came two days after a bomb in Mazar-e-Sharif killed one of the highest-ranking Taliban officials, Balkh provincial governor Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, and two others.

Four were wounded in the attack, which Daesh claimed responsibility for.

A guard posted at the centre was killed in Saturday’s blast and journalists were among the five wounded.

They included Najeeb Faryad, a reporter for Aryana News television station, who said he felt like something hit him in the back, followed by a deafening sound before he fell to the ground.

Daesh presence

No one has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the regional affiliate of the Daesh terrorist group, known as Daesh-K, is a key rival of the Taliban.

The militant group has increased its attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover of the country in August 2021.

Targets have included Taliban patrols and members of Afghanistan’s Shia minority.

Several attacks have rocked Balkh, including in the provincial city of Mazar-e-Sharif last year, some claimed by Daesh.

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