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Afghan official: Gunmen fire at university bus, killing 2

March 16, 2021 GMT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen opened fire at a minibus belonging to a university in northern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least two people and wounding six, a provincial official said.

Jawed Basharat, spokesman for the police chief in Baghlan province, said a student and the driver of the minibus were killed in the attack, which took place on the outskirts of Puli Khomri, the provincial capital. The wounded were all university lecturers.

The bus was carrying students and teachers from the faculty of agriculture and was travelling to the university, Basharat said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said the militant group was not involved in it.

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Afghanistan is experiencing a nationwide spike in bombings, targeted killings and other violence as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government continue to face an impasse.

The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has claimed responsibility for some of the violence, but many attacks go unclaimed, with the Afghan government putting the blame on the Taliban. The insurgents have denied responsibility for most of the attacks.

Last November, Islamic State militants stormed Kabul University, sparking an hours-long gunbattle in the Afghan capital that killed 22 people and wounded another 22. And earlier, in October, IS claimed another brutal assault on a tutoring center in Kabul’s mostly Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi that killed 24 students and wounded more than 100 others.

Also Tuesday, authorities reported that four people who were among the 15 wounded in an attack on a minibus in Kabul the previous day had died — three women and a 3-year-old child. Earlier reports had no fatalities.

In western Herat province, insurgents on Tuesday morning stormed a police outpost on the Pashdan Dam, killing three members of the Afghan security forces, said Wahid Qatali, the province’s governor. The dam on the Hari River is still under construction.

Qatali added that four security personnel were wounded in the attack, for which he blamed the Taliban. There was no immediate response from the insurgents.