Government, Taliban blame each other for shell that kills 7

KABUL, Afghanistan — A mortar shell hit a wedding ceremony in northern Afghanistan, killing at least seven people, mostly children, and wounding at least four others, a police spokesman said.

Taliban insurgents attacked a government security checkpoint in the district of Tagab and one of their mortar shells hit a civilian house, Kapisa provincial police spokesman Shayeq Shoresh said Sunday. He said the attack happened the night before.

But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a tweet accused police of firing several mortar shells toward the civilian house, causing the casualties.

Both the Taliban and government forces routinely blame each other for attacks. The assailants are rarely identified and the public is seldom informed of the results of investigations into the many attacks in the capital.

The United Nations has repeatedly demanded both sides take more precautions to protect civilians. In the first three months of this year, the U.N. mission in Afghanistan said 1,783 civilians had been killed or wounded in Afghanistan, up 29% over the same period last year.

Recently, Afghan national defense and security forces and the Taliban have increased operations against each other in most of the provinces of the country, where most often civilians are caught in the crossfire.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State group in a statement Sunday claimed credit for a roadside bomb that struck a minivan full of university lecturers and students in Kapisa on Saturday, killing at least four and wounding 11 others.

The militant group in its statement said the minivan was carrying “Shiite apostates.”


Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

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