Multiple blasts targeted a Shia cultural centre. The assault was the latest attack on the home of Afghanistan's government, which is fighting Daesh and a resurgent Taliban.

Afghan security forces stand guard near the site of multiple blasts in Kabul on December 28, 2017.
Afghan security forces stand guard near the site of multiple blasts in Kabul on December 28, 2017. (AFP)

At least 41 people were killed and many others wounded in multiple blasts at a Shia cultural centre in Kabul on Thursday, officials said, in the latest violence to hit the Afghan capital.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack on the group's propaganda site, Amaq.

Deputy interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said the blasts were aimed at the Shia Tabayan cultural centre.

"A ceremony was being held to mark the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when the explosion went off," he said.

"We have 41 killed, 30 wounded, but this is not the final toll. It might go up."

TRT World's Mark Gay has more. 

Rahimi said the main blast was followed by two smaller bomb explosions that did not cause casualties.

A hospital official told local TV that 18 wounded people had been brought to his facility.

"Five of the wounded are in critical condition and our doctors are working to save their lives," Sabir Nasib, head of Istiqlal hospital, said.

A man in the vicinity of the attack said he heard a "big boom."

"We do not know the numbers [of casualties]. When the explosion happened we immediately fled," he told Tolo News.

Photos posted on Afghan Voice Agency's Facebook page showed the inside of a compound with debris and bodies lying on the ground.

Kabul-based journalist Ali Latifi told TRT World, "Daesh say that they targeted it because the centre is very close to Iran. Locals in the area also say the centre stages [annual] Al Quds Day protests in Kabul."

An attack on knowledge, wisdom and unity

Iran condemned Thursday's attack on the cultural centre, according to local reports.

"Attacking the cultural and media centres or the intellectuals that discredit extremist and violent ideologies reveal the depth of aversion that masterminds and perpetrators of terrorist activities have to freedom of speech, knowledge, wisdom and unity in Afghanistan," Tasnim News Agency quoted Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying. 

Afghan media have previously been targeted by militants, underlying the risks faced by journalists in the war-torn country, where the government is battling the Taliban and Daesh.

Ongoing violence

In November an attack on Afghan broadcaster Shamshad TV in Kabul, claimed by Daesh, left at least one person dead and two dozen others wounded.

Daesh also claimed Monday's attack on the National Directorate of Security spy agency.

It was the latest claimed assault by the group in Kabul, which in recent months has become one of the deadliest places in the country for civilians.

Security in the city has been ramped up since May 31 when a massive truck bomb ripped through the diplomatic quarter, killing some 150 people and wounding around 400 others – mostly civilians.

Daesh has expanded its presence in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015.

It has scaled up its attacks in Kabul, including on security installations and the country's Shia minority.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies