KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber working for the Islamic State attacked a market where shopkeepers were protesting against the police in Kabul late on Thursday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than two dozen others, officials said.
Nasrat Rahimi, a deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that civilians and members of the security forces were among the casualties, which he put at 20 dead and 30 wounded. Other security officials said that most of the victims were members of the country’s police force.
Najib Danish, another spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that on Wednesday, city police officers raided a market where alcohol, drugs and other banned substances were being sold and arrested two people. On Thursday, the shopkeepers started clashing with the police and burned a police vehicle. One of the protesters was killed.
The suicide bomber was on foot and detonated explosives in the area around 8:30 p.m. as the security forces had gathered to close more shops, officials said.
Hours later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, issuing a bulletin on its Amaq news agency. The statement was disseminated on the messaging app Telegram, where members and followers congregate in secret channels, or chat rooms.
Although the Islamic State has lost nearly all of its former strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the threat that the group poses to the rest of the world has not abated, and in some parts of the world it has increased. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has caused more casualties in Kabul than the Taliban, and in Yemen, the number of the group’s fighters has doubled in the past year, according to the United States military. In recent months, the group also carried out what officials called the deadliest terrorist attack in modern Egyptian history, which took the lives of more than 300 people at a Sufi mosque.