Afghan President orders thorough probe — Kabul blast

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Authorities say an attack on a Shiite Muslim cultural center in the Afghan capital Kabul has left at least 35 people dead and 20 wounded.

Shiite leader Abdul Hussain Ramazandada said witnesses reported at least one suicide bomber sneaked into the event and was sitting among the participants.

A report issued by the AJSC in July reported different figures from that of Reporters Without Borders and said in the first six months of 2017, 10 journalists were killed and 73 cases of violence had been reported including "killing, beating, inflicting injury and humiliation, intimidation, and detention". The IS in Afghanistan is a toxic mix of Uzbek militants belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who broke with the Taliban, as well as disenchanted insurgents who left the much larger and more well-established Taliban.

The floors of the centre, at the basement level, were covered in blood as wailing survivors and relatives picked through the debris, while windows of the news agency, on the second floor, were all shattered.

The organization, however, said that Afghanistan's constitution guaranteed freedom of information and stated it was the only country in the world to have created "committees for the safety of journalists" with representatives of the state and journalists' associations.

President Ashraf Ghani's spokesperson condemned the "unpardonable" crime, and his office has ordered a full investigation into the attack.

Religious attacks in Afghanistan have skyrocketed in the past two years with the minority Shiite community the main target, the United Nations said in November.

Amnesty International's South Asia director, Biraj Patnaik, said: "This gruesome attack underscores the dangers faced by Afghan civilians".

A Shia cultural organisation and offices of the Afghan Voice news agency were hit.

The two-story cultural center is located in a poor area of the Shiite-dominated Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood in the west of the capital.

On Friday, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, defended the strike, saying the decision to use the bomb was based on military needs, not political reasons. We went to the scene and tried to get a closer look.

In a statement released by the presidential palace, Ghani said: "The terrorist have killed our people".

IS announced the establishment of its "Khorasan" branch - an old name for Afghanistan and surrounding areas - in January 2015.