On Sunday, August 18, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack that killed 63 people and wounded some 182 others at the Shahr-e-Dubai wedding hall in Kabul on Saturday, August 17. The explosion reportedly ripped through the facility at 22:40 (local time); the wedding hall is in the PD6 area in western Kabul, which is mostly inhabited by the minority Shi'a Hazara community. IS claimed that a Pakistani fighter detonated an explosive vest in a large gathering of Shi'a Muslims, according to reports from a terror monitoring group. IS also claimed that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was detonated following the suicide bombing attack; this claim was not immediately confirmed by Afghan officials. The site of the attack is notably near Darul Aman Palace, where Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is slated to participate in celebrations in observance of Afghan Independence Day on Monday, August 19.
Similar IS attacks targeting Shi'a Muslim gatherings and sites are possible in Kabul over the near term.
Islamic State (IS) militants have carried out dozens of attacks that have killed hundreds of Shi'a Hazara community members in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan since the group's Afghan affiliate emerged in 2014. The UN estimates that IS militants number between 2500 and 4000 in Afghanistan.
Individuals in Kabul are advised to monitor the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, liaise with their security partner, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home government.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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