At least 20 dead in blasts at sports center in Afghan capital

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"Afghan security forces are in control of the district, and the Taliban's attack was repelled", he said, adding that more than 20 insurgents were killed during the battle.

The first attack was conducted by a suicide bomber and targeted a wrestling gym in an area of Dashte Barchi, a Shia-dominated part of the city where spectators had converged to watch a competition.

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the club, while about 40 minutes later a auto bomb went off nearby, targeting rescue workers and journalists. Eight journalists were killed.

It is known for its heavy use of suicide bombers and was designated a terrorist organisation by the U.S. in 2012.

Maiwand club manager Pahlawan Shir said he feared the real death toll may be much higher.

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Jamshid Shahabi, the governor's spokesman in the northwestern Badghis province, said two police officers were killed and four others were wounded in an attack Tuesday near Qala-i-Now, the provincial capital. He said two Afghan reporters were among those wounded.

The second blast occurred outside the compound about an hour later. An Afghan security source confirmed the numbers.

The Balkh journalists said such incidents should be taken seriously by government and that perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted. At least 34 people were killed in a suicide attack targeting Shias at an education centre in Kabul last month.

The group said it was behind that attack, which drew global condemnation and came amid a wave of deadly violence across the country.

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