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Suicide bomber targets Sikhs, Hindus in Afghanistan; 12 dead

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber targeted a group of Sikhs and Hindus on their way to meet Afghanistan’s president in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday, killing at least 12 people.

Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar province, said at least 20 others were wounded in the attack.

Khogyani said that shops and number vehicles were on fire as result of the attack in an intersection inside Jalalabad city.

Gen. Ghulam Sanayee Stanekzai, Nangarhar police chief said that the attacker targeted the group on its way to the governor’s compound. They had planned to meet with President Ashraf Ghani, who was visiting the region on Sunday.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate are active in the province.

Afghanistan’s tiny Sikh and Hindu minority has endured decades of discrimination and hostility, and today numbers only around 1,000 people. They have been targeted in the past by Islamic extremists.

In a separate incident, at least 110 people have been hospitalized after drinking from a river in the northern Parwan province, an official said.

Abdul Khalil Farhangi, the head of the main hospital in Charakar, the provincial capital, said it was not clear what caused them to become ill. The symptoms included vomiting and headaches.

Afghanistan’s infrastructure has suffered from decades of war, and many rural communities do not have access to electricity or clean running water.