Denver, Colorado 2021-10-08 10:00:40 –
Kabul, Afghanistan — An explosion occurred on Friday at a mosque full of Shiite Muslim worshipers in northern Afghanistan, killing or injuring at least 100 people, Taliban police officials said.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz, the Islamic State group’s militants have a long history of attacking the Shiite minority in Afghanistan.
“The majority of them were killed,” said Dost Mohammad Obaida, deputy police chief in Kunduz. He said the attack could have been carried out by a suicide bomber mixed among worshipers in the mosque.
“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 attacks by rival IS militants, including ambush shootings and explosions at the mosque in Kabul’s capital.
The Kunduz explosion occurred during every Friday worship service at the Gozar Said Abbado 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. Debris from the blast covered the floor and the high ceiling of the mosque was charred black.
Hussein Dad Rezai, a resident of the area, said he rushed to the mosque as soon as the explosion began. “I was busy doing construction work at home, but when prayer began, there was an explosion,” he said. “I came to look for relatives. The mosque was full.”
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 recent deadly bombings in Kabul.
IS has also declared war on Afghan minority Shiites and is responsible for some of the worst attacks targeting the community, including attacks on mosques in Kabul and Herat, Western Province.
A UN mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack on Friday, saying it was “part of a disturbing pattern of violence” targeting religious institutions.
Earlier, IS claimed a bombing that killed at least five civilians outside Kabul’s Eidgar Mosque on Sunday. Another attack on Madrasa, a religious school in Khost, was not claimed on Wednesday.
Local Islamic State affiliates also 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 in the horrifying August. He claimed responsibility for the bombing on the 26th.
Since the withdrawal of the United States, IS attacks have occurred primarily in eastern Afghanistan (a regional hub for IS affiliates) and Kabul.
In northern Kunduz, the Hazaras, mostly Shiites, make up about 6% of the state’s population of about 1 million. The state also has a large population of Uzbeks targeted for recruitment by the IS, which is closely linked to the Uzbek militant Islamic movement.
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.
Akhgar reported from Istanbul. Islamabad Associated Press author Kathy Gannon contributed to this report.
At least 100 killed or wounded in Afghan mosque blast, Taliban official says – The Denver Post Source link At least 100 killed or wounded in Afghan mosque blast, Taliban official says – The Denver Post