An explosion during an award ceremony for journalists in Afghanistan’s northern Balkh province has killed at least one person and wounded eight others, according to a Taliban police spokesman.
The explosion took place at the Tabian Farhang centre in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of the province, as journalists gathered for the award event at 11am on Saturday, said Mohammad Asif Waziri, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for Balkh police.
“A blast has taken placed in the second police district of Balkh,” he said. Waziri confirmed the casualty toll, adding that three children were among the wounded.
The incident came two days after a bomb in Mazar-i-Sharif killed the provincial governor, Daud Muzmal, and two others. Four were wounded.
Journalists among wounded
A journalist based in Balkh, Mohammad Fardin Nowrozi, told the Reuters news agency that he and other journalists were injured in the explosion, but did not provide further details.
Wounded journalists also included Najeeb Faryad, a reporter for Ariana 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, according to the Associated Press news agency.
There as no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The regional affiliate of the ISIL (ISIS) group is a key rival of the Taliban. The 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.