Islamic State claims twin blasts in Afghan capital Kabul

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KABUL (Reuters) -Islamic State claimed responsibility for two explosions that hit a heavily Shi'ite Muslim area of the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday, killing at least one person and wounding at least six others including three women.

The blasts were the latest in a series of attacks in Kabul claimed by the militant Sunni group in recent days, with Shi'ite areas in the west of the city targeted several times. The group has also launched attacks on Shi'ite mosques in the northern city of Kunduz and the southern city of Kandahar.

One car bomb blast in Dasht-e Barchi, in western Kabul, killed a civilian and wounded six, interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayeed Khosty said in a tweet.

There was no confirmation of casualty numbers. A Taliban official who spoke on condition of anonymity said seven people had been killed and nine wounded.

A second explosion was reported in the nearby Karte 3 area, local residents said. A Taliban official said security forces were still gathering information.

Images posted on social media showed a car destroyed by flames as well as twisted wreckage strewn across the road. Islamic State claimed responsibility in a statement posted on an affiliated Telegram account.

The local affiliate of the radical group has emerged as the main security threat to the Taliban since the fall of Kabul in August and has mounted attacks across the country that have killed and wounded hundreds.

The attacks have added pressure on the Taliban government, which is grappling with a deepening economic crisis, and dented its assertion that it has restored security to Afghanistan after decades of war.

(Additional reporting by Mahmoud Mourad; writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Nick Macfie and Timothy Heritage)

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