Wahid Majroh, spokesman for The Public Health Ministry, said 65 people were wounded in the attack, which was carried out by a bomber on foot.
IS claimed the attack in an online statement, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi websites. The group said the attack targeted “a gathering of Shiites celebrating Nowruz.” Orlando Sentinel wrote.
The Persian new year, known in Afghanistan as Nowruz, is a national holiday, and the country’s minority Shiites typically celebrate by visiting shrines.
The attack took place near Kabul University and a government hospital, around one mile away from the Sakhi shrine, where people were gathered to celebrate the new year, said Gen. Daud Amin, Kabul’s police chief.
Daud said the attacker managed to slip past police checkpoints set up along the road. He said an investigation into the security breach is underway, and that anyone found to have neglected his duties would be punished.
This attack happens as earlier this month in another Islamic State suicide bomber targeted Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazaras, killing nine people and wounded 18 others. The bomber blew himself up at a police checkpoint near a gathering of the minority Shiites in western Kabul.
The bomber was on foot and was trying to make his way to a compound where the Hazaras had gathered to commemorate the 1995 death of their leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, who was killed by the Taliban.
Kabul has recently seen a spate of large-scale militant attacks by both the Taliban and the Islamic State group. In late January, a Taliban attacker drove an ambulance filled with explosives into the heart of the city, killing at least 103 people and wounding as many as 235.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement condemned the attack, calling it a “crime against humanity,”