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Two killed in Kabul cricket stadium grenade attack, police say

bomb blast in kabul cricket stadium during afghanistan t20 tournament
Taliban members stand guard outside the scene of a bomb blast at Kabul International cricket stadium

Two people were killed in the grenade explosion that shook Kabul’s main cricket stadium during a domestic league match on Friday, police said on Saturday, updating their previous casualty toll.

The blast occurred in the crowd as spectators watched a match between two teams from the local Shpageza cricket league, the Afghan Cricket Board (ACB) said.

“The blast happened due to a grenade, two have been killed and some of our countrymen injured,” Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said on Saturday, adding that security forces were looking for those responsible for the attack.

“The match stopped for a while. After clean-up of the area the match restarted,” Zadran told Reuters.

Initially, officials including ACB Chief Executive Nassib Khan had reported four injuries and no deaths as a result of the explosion.

No ACB staff or players were hurt, Khan added.

Cricket is a hugely popular sport in Afghanistan, with the country’s national team continuing to do well on the international stage despite limited resources and instability at home. A number of Afghans are ranked among the top players in the world.

Friday is a weekly holiday in Afghanistan, and the eight-team domestic league, which has been running for the last 10 days, had attracted a sizeable audience at the stadium in the capital.

Conflicting reports about the number of casualties had appeared in the media and within the diplomatic community.

Emergency Hospital, located in central Kabul, said on Twitter on Friday it had received 13 casualties, 12 of whom were hospitalised.

In a statement released on Saturday, Zadran urged people to refer only to security forces’ information when reporting casualty figures.

“We hope that our countrymen, foreign guests, diplomats and international organisations, do not directly campaign for those evil people who do not want happiness of Afghans,” he said in the statement.

Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers have sought to play down international concerns about the security situation in Afghanistan as attacks by the local affiliate of Islamic State militant group have continued across the country, including Kabul.

No one has claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack.

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