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Afghanistan: IS claims responsibility for suicide bomb at Kandahar bank

At least 21 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, a hospital doctor has told the BBC.

The Taliban government says a suicide attack took place at a city centre bank at about 08:00 (03:30 GMT).

It puts the death toll at three. Police said a number of others were wounded.

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility, and says it was targeting the Taliban.

According to a report issued by IS's "news agency" Amaq, the group claimed the attacker detonated his suicide belt among the crowd of "around 150" Taliban members.

The blast, believed to be the biggest in Afghanistan this year, took place at a branch where Afghan government employees were queueing to collect their salaries.

A doctor from Mirwais hospital, the region's largest, spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity. "So far 21 dead and at least 50 people injured from the explosion have been brought in," he said.

Kandahar is the seat of power of the Taliban, the base of their supreme commander.

While the overall security situation in Afghanistan has improved since the Taliban gained complete control with the full withdrawal of foreign troops in 2021, there continue to be dozens of bombings and suicide attacks in the country each year.

Many of them have targeted Afghanistan's Hazara ethnic minority and have been claimed by Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISKP, the regional affiliate of the so-called Islamic State group, a major rival of the Taliban.