An attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, has killed at least 40 people and injured more than 30 more on Thursday.
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Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, confirmed the attack in west Kabul, the capital and largest city in Afghanistan. An explosion and attack took place at a Shia cultural center where many cultural activists were attending an event.
The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack.
Kabul has seen an increase in attacks on Shia mosques or cultural centers by ISIS members.
ISIS claimed responsibility for a bombing on Christmas Day in Kabul which killed six people, according to The Associated Press. Also, a group of ISIS gunmen stormed an intelligence center in Kabul on Dec. 18, triggering a gunfight which killed all three attackers, the AP reported.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise appearance in Afghanistan on Dec. 21 to rally troops stationed in Kabul. Pence reiterated U.S. support for the war in Afghanistan, saying the U.S. was “here to see this through.”
“It’s because of all of you that we’re safe. It’s because of you that we’re free. It’s because of you that freedom has a future in Afghanistan and America and all across the wider world,” Pence said.
The U.S. has about 15,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.