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Dozens Killed in Suicide Blast at Afghanistan Mosque

Taliban officials say Shiite minority was targeted
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 8, 2021 9:50 AM CDT
Dozens Killed in Suicide Blast at Afghanistan Mosque
A man walks down blood-stained steps of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.   (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

(Newser) – A blast went off Friday at a mosque packed with Shiite Muslim worshippers in northern Afghanistan, killing or wounding at least 100 people, a Taliban police official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which took place in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province, but militants from the Islamic State group have a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, the AP reports. Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber who had mingled among the worshipers inside the mosque. The state-run Bakhtar news agency put the death toll at 46, per Reuters.

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"I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety," Obaida said, adding that an investigation was underway. If confirmed, a death toll of dozens would be the highest since US and NATO forces left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban took control of the country. The Taliban have been targeted in a series of deadly attacks by rival IS militants, including shooting ambushes and an explosion at a mosque in Kabul. The Kunduz explosion went off during the weekly Friday prayer service at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque.

The Taliban leadership has been grappling with a growing threat from the local Islamic State affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan. IS militants have ramped up attacks to target their rivals, including two recent deadly bombings in Kabul. The group has also declared war on Afghanistan's minority Shiites and has taken responsibility for some of the worst attacks targeting the community. The local Islamic State affiliate also claimed responsibility for the horrific Aug. 26 bombing that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US military personnel outside the Kabul airport in the final days of the chaotic American pullout from Afghanistan.

(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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