- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The Latest on a suicide bombing near a Shiite shrine in Afghanistan (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

The Pentagon says the suicide bombing near a Shiite shrine in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul took place a day after U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford was in the city.

Dunford had been in Kabul for meetings with top Afghan leaders Tuesday. But on Wednesday he traveled into the mountainous east, where he met with military officers and advisers.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack that targeted minority Shiites celebrating the Persian new year.



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2:45 p.m.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near a Shiite shrine in Afghanistan’s capital that targeted minority Shiites celebrating the Persian new year.

Afghan officials say the attack killed 29 people and wounded 52, updating an earlier toll.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites, says the IS-run Aamaq news agency carried the claim for Wednesday’s attack. The statement says the attack targeted “a gathering of Shiites celebrating Nauruz.”

Shiites mark the Persian new year, known as Nauruz in Afghanistan, by visiting shrines. The Sunni extremists of the Islamic State group regularly target Shiites, who they view as apostates.

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1 p.m.

Afghan officials are reporting a large explosion on the road to a Shiite shrine in the capital, where people had gathered to mark the Persian new year.

Police spokesman Basir Mujahid says the number of casualties from Wednesday’s blast are not yet known.

The Persian new year, known in Afghanistan as Nauruz, is a national holiday. The country’s minority Shiites typically celebrate by visiting shrines.

Afghanistan is home to a powerful Islamic State affiliate that has repeatedly targeted Shiites, who the extremists view as apostates deserving of death.

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