On Thursday evening, a Shiite neighborhood of the Afghan capital witnessed an explosion. The cause of the Thursday evening blast at a boxing club is still not known. Video taken after the explosion shows part of a building with its windows blown out and flames billowing inside. Shattered glass and other debris are strewn across the street below.
The scale of the damage was clearer Friday morning. There are craters in the ground and most of the club’s interior has been gutted. Workers picked their way through boxing gloves and gym equipment on the blood-splattered floor.
A police spokesman raised the death toll to four, with seven people critically injured. Kabul police chief spokesman Khalid Zadran said the injured are in a critical condition and that the investigation into the blast is ongoing. He initially said two people died and nine were injured.
Eyewitness Sultan Ali Amini said that at least six people died and more than 15 were injured. “As you see, the walls are destroyed and all the glass and metal are broken,” he said. The reason for the lower death toll provided by the Taliban was not immediately clear. In the past, they have at times been slow to confirm casualty figures in the aftermath of attacks.
The Dashti Barchi area of Kabul has been targeted in the past by the Islamic State group affiliate in the country, which has carried out major, horrific assaults on schools, hospitals and mosques. The group has also attacked other Shiite areas of Afghanistan in recent years.
IS has been waging a campaign of violence since the Taliban took power in August 2021.