KABUL, 9 Oct 2021:
The Islamic State terror group yesterday claimed an attack that killed at least 80 people and wounded around 100 during Friday prayers at a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province, although the casualties have not been confirmed officially.
“A heavy blast took place inside the Sayed-Abad mosque in which 80 members of the Shia community were martyred and around 100 more injured,” said Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a former member of the Kunduz Provincial Council.
Nazir Naeemi, a local who was present at the site, said “around 90 to 100 people seemed to have died and some 150-200 others were injured, while the mosque was partially damaged.”
The former director of the refugee department in Kunduz, Muhamad Akbar, confirmed that “hundreds of people” had gathered at the mosque for the weekly prayers and the number of casualties could be above 100.
Videos from the attack site showed dozens of dead bodies covered with blood scattered on the ground amid debris as people scrambled for help.
The Taliban, who have assumed full control of the country since Aug 15, confirmed the attack but have not released official data about the casualties.
“There has been a heavy blast in Kunduz province that inflicted heavy casualties on people, we do not have the exact figures of the victims at the moment” said Jawad Sargar, a member of the Taliban’s cultural commission.
The group’s spokesperson Bilal Karimi said that its soldiers had reached the area in Kunduz city, the capital of the eponymous province, and begun an investigation.
The incident comes after two people were killed on Sunday in an explosion at the entrance of a mosque in Kabul, where the funeral of Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid’s mother was in progress.
The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the incident, which follows in the wake of other attacks carried out by the group since the withdrawal of US troops from the country before Aug 31.
Dozens of civilians and Taliban fighters have been killed in these attacks, especially in Kabul and the eastern Nangarhar province that borders Pakistan and is a stronghold of the IS-Khorasan Province, the Afghan offshoot of the global terrorist group.
The Taliban have launched massive operations against the IS in different Afghan provinces, aiming to finish a group that they consider the main threat to their government.