At Least Three Killed In Suicide Blast Outside Kabul Cricket Stadium

KABUL -- At least three people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up while attempting to enter a cricket stadium in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say.

Police said the September 13 blast also injured at least seven people near the Kabul International Cricket Stadium, where hundreds of fans were watching a tournament involving both Afghan and foreign players.

No group specifically claimed responsibility for the bombing, the latest in a series of terrorist attacks in the capital.

However, a statement in the Bosnian language on the Islamic State (IS)-affiliated Amaq news website reported an attack against members of Afghan security forces in Kabul.

Police official Basir Mujahid told RFE/RL that the attacker was attempting to enter the stadium but was blocked by security forces when he detonated his explosives.

Conflicting reports said one or two police officers were among the dead.

Ismail Kavousi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said the injured were transferred to hospitals for treatment.

Atif Mashal of the Afghan Cricket Board said the blast did not affect the competition and that no players were hurt in the attack, which occurred around the time of a match between the Aynak and Fox cricket teams.

Six squads are participating in the Shpageeza tournament -- one of the few sports competitions held in the country. It began on September 11 and runs through September 22.

Along with Afghan nationals, foreign players from Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and South Africa are competing, Mashal said.

Cricket has a large following in entertainment- and sports-starved Afghanistan and is also highly popular in neighboring Pakistan.

U.S.-backed forces have been in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, but security remains precarious in many parts of the country. The Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, and other militant groups have carried out terror attacks in Kabul and outside the capital.

On August 29, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in a commercial district near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed at least five people.

A month earlier, a car bomb blast killed at least eight people in western Kabul.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP