Bomb blast kills 2 Afghan human rights commission staffers

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A bomb exploded in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday killing two employees of the country’s human rights commission, the organization said in a statement.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said the employees’ car was targeted for attack. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the violence but Afghanistan has seen a recent spike in violence, with most attacks claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Firdaus Faramarz, spokesman for the Kabul police chief, confirmed that two people were killed when their vehicle was targeted by a sticky bomb.

The commission’s statement identified the victims as Fatima Khalil, 24, a donor liaison officer, and Jawid Folad, 41, a driver. The attack took place when they were traveling form home to their office.

The commission condemned the attack, calling it “intolerable.”

“In the context of armed conflict deliberately killing human rights defenders is a war crime,” it said.

Saturday’s attack was not the first time commission staff have been targeted. Last September, Abdul Samad Ameri, the acting head of the commission’s western Ghor provincial office was abducted on the Kabul-Ghor highway in Maidan Wardak Province and shot dead two days later.

In early June, IS claimed responsibility for a bombing at a mosque in Kabul that killed two people, including the prayer leader. Eight worshipers were wounded in that attack.

A week later, another prayer leader and three worshipers were killed in a bomb blast inside another mosque in Kabul. Eight other worshipers were wounded. The Taliban condemned the mosque attacks.

The United States blamed IS for a horrific attack last month on a maternity hospital in the capital that killed 24 people, including two infants and several new mothers.

The Islamic State group, which reviles Shiites as heretics, has declared war on Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Muslims, but has also attacked Sunni Muslims and mosques.