A large number of people were killed or injured when a bomb exploded in Afghanistan’s Shia Mosque during Friday prayers.
A suicide bomber struck a crowded Shia mosque in Afghanistan during Friday prayers, killing or injuring at least 100 worshipers.
The explosion occurred in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province in the country’s north-east.
Gory scenes witnessed after the deadly attack
Bloodied victims and body parts were hurled around the inside of the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad mosque by the explosion, according to gory but unconfirmed photos uploaded on social media.
Rescuers were seen bringing a body wrapped in a blanket from the mosque to an ambulance in photos and video taken at the scene.
In a tweet, the UN mission in Afghanistan reported that initial information suggests that more than 100 people were killed and injured in the suicide bombing inside the mosque.
According to some accounts, the death toll might be as high as 50. A death toll of dozens, if verified, would be the biggest since US and NATO soldiers left Afghanistan in late August.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s senior spokesperson, was quoted by media as having said that a huge number of worshipers had been killed or injured, and that Taliban special forces had arrived on the area and were investigating.
Islamic State in Khorasan believed to have carried out the attack
The incident was suspected to have been carried out by Islamic State (IS), which is known for targeting Afghanistan’s Shia minority.
The local IS offshoot, Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K), has increased strikes against opponents, including two recent horrific bombs in Kabul, putting pressure on Afghanistan’s new Taliban leadership.
IS-K attacked a funeral prayer meeting in Kabul attended by a number of top Taliban commanders on Sunday, and there have been additional minor bombings in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces in the east.
During the evacuation of Kabul’s airport following the Taliban’s takeover, the same group was responsible for an attack that killed 13 US soldiers and 169 Afghans.
Earlier this week, the Taliban said that their security forces had begun an operation against IS-Khorasan strongholds, demolishing one in Kabul and arresting at least 15 members of the organisation.
Zabihullah Mujahid was cited in Afghan media on Thursday as downplaying the threat presented by IS-Khorasan and promising that Taliban troops will soon defeat it.