At least 100 people were killed or injured in an explosion among Shiite Muslim worshipers at a mosque in northern Afghanistan, according to Taliban police officials.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion that took place in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz, the radicals of the Islamic State group have a long history of attacking a minority of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan.
“The majority of them were killed,” said Dost Mohammad Obaida, deputy police chief in Kunduz. He said the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber mixed among worshipers.
“I assure the Shiite brothers that the Taliban are ready to secure them,” Obida said, adding that the investigation was underway.
If confirmed, dozens of deaths will be the most since the US and NATO troops left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban ruled the country. The Taliban have been the target of a series of deadly IS attacks, including ambush shootings and explosions at the mosque in Kabul’s capital.
The explosion occurred during a worship service every Friday at Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque. Friday noon prayer is a highlight of Islamic Religious Week, and mosques are usually crowded. Witness Ali Reza said she was praying at the time of the explosion and reported seeing many casualties.
Photographs and videos of the scene showed the rescuer carrying a blanket-wrapped body from the mosque to the ambulance. The stairs at the entrance of the mosque were covered with blood.
Last Friday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a Shiite mosque was targeted and “many” worshipers were killed and injured. He said Taliban special forces had arrived at the scene and were investigating the incident.
The Taliban leadership has addressed the heightened threat from the affiliates of the local Islamic State, known as the Islamic State of Korasan. IS militants have stepped up attacks targeting rivals, including two deadly bombings in Kabul. IS is also targeting Afghan religious minorities in its attacks.
A terrifying August 26, when local Islamic State affiliates killed at least 169 Afghanistan and 13 U.S. military personnel outside Kabul Airport on the final day of the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Claimed responsibility for the bombing of the day.
Since the withdrawal of the United States, IS attacks have occurred primarily in eastern Afghanistan (a regional hub for IS affiliates) and Kabul.
The Hazara ethnic group, mostly Shiite Muslims, make up about 6% of the population of nearly one million Kunduz. The state also has a large population of Uzbeks targeted for recruitment by the IS, which is closely linked to the Islamic movement in Uzbekistan.
Friday’s attack will also be of concern to Afghanistan’s North Central Asian neighbors and Russia, which has been courting the Taliban for years as an ally against the creeping IS in the region, if claimed by the IS.
At least 100 people were killed and injured in the Afghan explosion, according to Taliban officials.
Source link At least 100 people were killed and injured in the Afghan explosion, according to Taliban officials.
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