The Maiwand Wrestling Club in Kabul was the sight of twin bomb attacks on Wednesday evening, with at least 20 people dead in the blasts.
The first explosion happened around 6 p.m., with a suicide bomber detonating an explosive vest inside the club, per CNN. After emergency services and the media had arrived, a second bomb in a car was detonated, in what is believed to be a targeted attack on these professionals.
Tolo News, a private broadcaster in Afghanistan, said that two of its journalists, 28-year-old Samim Faramarz and 23-year-old Ramiz Ahmadi, were killed in the second explosion. More than 60 people were injured in the two explosions.
It wasn’t long before ISIS claimed responsibility for the horrific attack. The wrestling club is in the predominantly Shia Qala-e-Nazer neighborhood of Western Kabul.
Twelve journalists have lost their lives in Afghanistan in 2018, more than in any other country, including the two on Wednesday night. In April, 10 journalists were killed in a single day, including a BBC reporter and a photographer, both of whom had been vocal about the dangers of reporting from the capital of the country.
“Afghan journalists have shown incredible bravery covering the news while being repeatedly targeted by a cynical enemy,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, in a statement.
The violence in the area has been escalating, with an education center becoming the target for another attack in the last month. ISIS also claimed responsibility for that attack, which claimed the lives of 34 people. The Taliban is another source for concern in the area, routinely carrying out attacks on civilians and military targets.
According to a recent UN report, the number of Afghans killed in just the first six months of 2018 is at a record high, with 1,692 deaths recorded.
Although there has been talk of a peace deal in recent months, the Taliban launched another attack on Ghazni in August, killing at least 16 people and injuring a further 40 in a move to seize key buildings in the city.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said “Islamabad and Washington needed to work together for peace in Afghanistan.”
President Donald Trump has claimed that the Pakistani capital has been “granting safe haven to militants who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan,” something the country strongly denies.
An airstrike in Afghanistan on August 25, carried out by US military forces, claimed the life of the head of ISIS in the country.