Gunmen killed nine Hazara miners in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan on Friday, officials said, in the latest attack against ethnic minorities.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the killings in the remote district of Tala Wa Barfak, but the government blamed Islamic State (Daesh) who are making steady inroads into Afghanistan.
“Nine coalminers were killed by unknown gunmen in Tala wa Barfak. They were heading home when their vehicle were stopped by gunmen,” district governor Faiz Mohammad Amiri told AFP.
The governor of central Bamiyan province, apparently where the coalminers were from, confirmed the incident. The rise of Daesh has raised the spectre of sectarian discord in Afghanistan, something that the Sunni-majority country has largely been spared despite decades of war.
Until a few months ago IS was largely confined to the eastern province of Nangarhar bordering Pakistan, where it is notorious for brutality including beheadings despite a US-backed offensive against the group.
But the government this week said the group was steadily expanding into other provinces. —AFP