Afghan officials say gunmen kill 11 in separate attacks

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen killed 11 people in two separate attacks in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, the latest in relentless violence that continues to plague the war-shattered nation.

According to Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian, in the first attack, an unknown number of gunmen stormed a mosque in Parwan province, north of the capital, Kabul, late on Tuesday, killing eight worshipers and wounding several others.

In the second attack, also late on Tuesday, gunmen in eastern Khost province attacked a family returning home from a nearby mosque, killing three brothers, Arian said. In both attacks, the gunmen fled the scene.

No one claimed responsibility for either attack but the Taliban promptly denied involvement. The Islamic State group, which has been increasingly active in Afghanistan after suffering battlefield losses to government and U.S. forces, as well as its Taliban rivals, has carried out similar attacks in the past.

Washington blamed the IS for last week’s horrific attack on a maternity hospital in Kabul that killed 24 people, including two infants.

In Parwan, Wahida Shahkar, spokeswoman for the provincial governor, said the police were investigating the assault, which she called “a crime against humanity.”

Mosques have also been a frequent scene of attacks. Last October, IS claimed responsibility for a bomb explosion in a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province, which caused the roof to collapse, killing 62 people and wounding 36 others.