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Islamic militancy

Three killed in suicide bomb attack outside Afghan cricket stadium

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 2:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 September, 2017, 2:00am

A suicide attack claimed by Islamic State near a cricket match in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday killed three people and wounded five.

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh said two of the dead were police officers and the other a civilian.

The blast outside Kabul International Cricket Stadium took place during a match in Afghanistan’s Shpageeza Cricket League, a T20 franchise tournament on the lines of the Indian Premier League and similar 20-over tournaments.

A statement on Islamic State’s Amaq news agency claimed responsibility for the incident, the latest in a string of suicide attacks in Kabul mounted by the group.

The Shpageeza tournament, now in its fifth season, is one of a small number of Western-style sports competitions along with Afghan Premier League football that have grown up since a US-led campaign toppled the Taliban in 2001.

A small number of foreign players from countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka as well as the West Indies, are taking part. Local Tolo News Television quoted the Afghan Cricket Board as saying all players were safe.

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“Sad to hear about the bomb blast during our game outside the stadium. Thank God we are all safe,” Cameron Delport, a South African batsman playing for the Boost Defenders team, tweeted after the match.

Cricket, which spread from refugee camps in Pakistan, has become one of Afghanistan’s most popular sports and the national team has become increasingly successful, raising the profile of the game.