In a horrific attack, a suicide bomber kills 100 people in a northern Afghanistan Shia Mosque on Friday in the northeastern city of Kunduz.
The suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shia mosque during Friday prayers in Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz, killing at least 100 worshippers and injuring about 150.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but it bore all the hallmarks of Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), which had recently attacked a mosque in Kabul, killing several people.
Video footage revealed tragic scenes with bodies surrounded by debris inside the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque. Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed the explosion and said there were casualties. However, he did not instantly provide any death toll, saying the Taliban were still investigating. “Today in the afternoon, in the Khanabad Bandar area in the capital city of Kunduz, a blast targeted a mosque belonging to our Shia citizens and martyred and wounded a number of our compatriots,” he tweeted.
Local security officials report that over 300 hundred people had been attending Friday prayers when the attack took place. There are incongruous reports about the number of casualties. Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said at least 100 people were killed and many more wounded in the attack. “I assure our Shia brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” Obaida said, adding that an investigation was underway.
Earlier, officials at Kunduz’s provincial hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 injured were brought there, while health officials at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in the city reported that 15 dead and 90 wounded were brought to their facility. MSF hospital workers said they feared the death toll could rise.
If the IS-K claims they did the Friday blast, it would be the worst attack in the war-battered country after the group had targeted Kabul airport in a disastrous bombing in August. Unfortunately, Afghanistan’s minority Shia Muslims, who make up roughly 20 percent of the Afghan population, have been victims of some of the country’s most violent assaults.
Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades. The IS-K has repeatedly targeted Afghanistan’s Shia minority in the past, with suicide bombers striking at their mosques, sports clubs, and schools. Kunduz is a key transit point for economic and trade exchanges with Tajikistan. The province saw fierce battles as the Taliban fought their way back into power in August this year.