Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), a terrorist group, claimed a suicide bombing attack at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan that killed at most 46 people. The blast took place during Friday prayers in Kunduz province. This is when Shiite religious minorities typically gather in large numbers to worship.
The jihadist group stated in a Telegram channel statement that an IS suicide bomber had “detonated an explosive vest among a crowd of Shiite worshippers” inside the mosque.
According to the group, the bomber was a Uygher Muslim. The attack targeted both Shiites as well as Taliban because they were allegedly willing to expel Uyghers in order to satisfy China’s demands.
The blast destroyed windows and ceilings, and scattered metal and debris across the floor.
Video footage captured dozens of bodies lying on the ground of the mosque, all covered in debris.
According to health officials, the death rate could reach 80.
“This afternoon, an explosion occurred in a mosque belonging to our Shiite compatriots… as a consequence of which a number a our compatriots died and were wounded,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said on Twitter. He also added that a special unit was being sent to the scene to investigate.
Kunduz Provincial Hospital medical sources stated that 35 people were killed and 55 more were injured. Doctors Without Borders (MSF), however, said that 20 of the victims had died and many more were injured.
Matiullah Rohani (director of culture and information in Kunduz, Afghanistan’s new Taliban government), confirmed that the suicide attack was responsible for the deaths of 46 people and that 143 others were hurt.
Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi a prominent Shiite cleric condemned the attack and called for security for Shiites in Afghanistan.
He said, “We expect security to be provided by the government’s security forces for the mosques because they have collected the weapons for security of the worship areas.”
The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack, describing it as “part of disturbing patterns of violence” against religious institutions.
IS also claimed two bombings that killed 169 Afghans in Kabul.
IS claimed that a bombing was carried out Sunday near Kabul’s Eid Gah Mosque, killing at least five civilians.
These attacks highlight the security problems facing the Taliban who took control of the country in August and have been conducting operations against Islamic State cells within Kabul since then.