United Nations envoy urges Taliban to respond to Afghan government offer

20 TTP militants killed in US drone strike in Kunar

The Islamic State, or the Khorasan Province as its affiliate in Afghanistan is known, claimed responsibility in a posting on an Islamic State-linked website. In January, a Taliban attacker drove an explosives-laden ambulance into the heart of the capital, killing more than 100 people and wounding as many as 235.

Afghan officials investigate the site of a suicide bomb attack near a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2018. Ghani had said the Afghan government will provide facilities and security for those Taliban who join the peace process.

The spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Wahid Majro, said several of the wounded were in critical condition and he feared the death toll could rise further.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called the attack a crime against humanity. It was the latest in a succession of periodic bombings and other attacks on Shiite mosques, shrines and events that have taken hundreds of lives in Kabul's minority ethnic Hazara community since 2016.

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Radio Free Europe reported that Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the attack in an online statement that said a Shia gathering was the target.

On Thursday night, Taliban fighters attacked a joint army and police outpost in the northern province of Takhar, killing seven soldiers and 10 policemen, according to Khalil Aseer, a provincial police spokesman. The group said it targeted a gathering of Shiites as they were commemorating the death of a "tyrant", an apparent reference to Mazari.

The report couldn't be independently confirmed because of the remoteness of the area.

As per an account of the security officials, over two dozen militants were being trained in the camp as suicide bombers when it came under attack from the CIA-operated pilotless aircraft.

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