Afghanistan: At least 32 killed in serial blasts at mosque in Kandahar city
Witnesses said that three back-to-back blasts took place at the mosque during the Friday prayers.
At least 32 people were killed and 45 others injured in a series of explosions at a mosque in Afghanistan’s Kandahar city on Friday, reported Al Jazeera, citing Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.
However, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan put the toll at 30, while Reuters reported that at least 35 people were killed and 68 wounded. AFP reported that 33 people had died.
Hafiz Sayeed, the Taliban’s chief for Kandahar’s department of culture and information, said that 47 people have been killed and at least 70 injured in the incident, according to AP.
Multiple agencies have also said that it was a suicide attack. A suicide bomber detonated his device at the entrance to the mosque and the other two blew themselves up inside the building, Reuters reported citing a local journalist.
However, the authorities have not confirmed this yet.
Witnesses told TOLO News that three back-to-back blasts took place at the mosque during the Friday prayers. Members of the minority Shia community were praying at the mosque when the blast took place.
The attack followed a pattern as at least 50 people were killed in a blast at a mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province last Friday. Members of Shia community prayed at this mosque too.
Shia Muslims make up around 10% of the Afghan population, according to AFP. Many of them belong to Hazara, an ethnic group that has faced persecution in Afghanistan for decades.
On Friday, the Embassy of Iran in Afghanistan, condemned the attack. The majority of Iran population is made of Shia Muslims. “We hope Taliban leaders take decisive action against these wicked terrorist incidents,” it said.
Interior ministry spokesperson of the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan Qari Sayed Khosti expressed grief on the incident, Al Jazeera reported.
“We are saddened to learn that an explosion took place in a mosque of the Shia brotherhood in the first district of Kandahar city in which a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded,” Khosti said in a tweet
He added that the Taliban special forces had reached the area “to determine the nature of the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice”.
The Islamic State-Khorasan, an Afghanistan-based affiliate of the terrorist group ISIS, had claimed responsibility for the attack in Kunduz last week.
The Kunduz explosion took place five days after a blast outside the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul, in which at least five people were killed. The Islamic State-Khorasan had claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack too.