At least one person was killed and five injured after a bomb exploded during an award ceremony for journalists in Afghanistan’s Mazar-e-Sharif city on Saturday.
The explosion took place at the Tabian Farhang centre in the capital of Balkh province, where journalists had gathered for an award function at 11 am, Mohammad Asif Waziri, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for Balkh police, said, according to AP news agency.
According to TOLOnews, a number of reporters, religious clerics, and local officials participated in the conference.
It is unclear who was responsible for the blast, but it is believed that the regional affiliate of the Islamic State group — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province — may have been responsible for the blast.
The Afghan forces arrived in the area and transferred wounded people to hospitals.
The officials are yet to disclose the identity of the victims, but local reports suggested that all the injured were journalists.
A reporter for Aryana News television station, Najeeb Faryad, said he felt like something hit him in the back, followed by a deafening sound before he fell to the ground.
It came two days after a bomb in Mazar-e-Sharif killed there, including Balkh’s provincial governor Daud Muzmal, while four were wounded.
Taliban authorities said that they were already investigating the Thursday explosion and added that the governor of Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar will temporarily run Balkh.
Supreme Spiritual Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada is expected to select a new governor for the northern province, an important trade hub with Central Asia, spokesman Haji Zaid told Reuters.
(With inputs from agencies)
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