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Afghan minivan blast kills seven: Taliban

A bomb attached to a packed minivan has exploded in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, killing at least seven civilians and wounding nine others, Taliban officials say.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Saturday’s bombing was the first such attack in Herat.

Local Taliban official Naeemulhaq Haqqani said investigations were ongoing.

A Taliban intelligence official in western Herat told the Associated Press that the bomb was attached to the van’s fuel tank.

He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to release the information to the public.

Herat ambulance chief Ebrahim Mohammadi said the victims – three in critical condition – were transferred to the provincial hospital.

Since their return to power in August, the Taliban have imposed widespread restrictions including many of them directed at women.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Saturday called on the Taliban to find two women rights activists – Tamana Zaryab Paryani and Parawana Ibrahimkhel – who disappeared on Wednesday from Kabul.

“We urge Taliban to provide information on their whereabouts & to protect rights of all Afghans,” UNAMA said in a tweet on Saturday.

The Taliban have denied any involvement in their disappearance.

An eyewitness said that at least ten armed people claiming to be Taliban intelligence members broke into an apartment on Wednesday in Kabul and arrested Tamana Zaryab Paryani and her three sisters.

The women rights activist posted a video on social media shortly before they were taken away showing them frightened, breathless and screaming for help.

She said that Taliban were banging on her door.

Paryani was among about 25 women who took part in an anti-Taliban protest last weekend against the compulsory Islamic headscarf, or hijab, for women.

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