Death toll in Kabul mosque blast rises to 21, with 33 wounded

Death toll in Kabul mosque blast rises to 21, with 33 wounded

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Death toll in Kabul mosque blast rises to 21, with 33 wounded

A blast which ripped through a mosque packed with worshippers in the Afghan capital killed at least 21 people and wounded more than two dozen others, police said Thursday.

The number of bombings across Afghanistan has declined since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, but several attacks – many targeting minority communities – have rocked the country in recent months, including some claimed by the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group.

No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday evening’s blast at Kabul’s Sediqia Mosque.

“He was my cousin; may God forgive him,” said a neighborhood resident who gave his name as Masiullah, describing how he learnt of a relative’s death in the blast.

“One year had passed from his marriage, he was 27 years old and his name was Fardin… he was a good person.”

Kabul police spokesperson Khalid Zadran said 21 people were killed and 33 wounded.

The Italian nongovernmental organization Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said Wednesday evening it had received 27 victims, including three fatalities.

Most of the patients were suffering “shell and burn injuries,” it said via email.

In a later tweet, the hospital said five children were among those it treated, including a 7-year-old.

Local hospitals contacted by AFP said they were not permitted to provide details of casualties they had treated.

Wednesday’s blast came nearly a week after a suicide bomber killed top Taliban cleric Rahimullah Haqqani, along with his brother, at his madrassa in Kabul. Haqqani was known for angry speeches against IS, which later claimed the attack.

The group has primarily targeted minority communities such as Shiites, Sufis and Sikhs.

The Taliban say they have defeated IS, but experts claim the group remains a key security challenge for the hardline Islamists.

The Taliban on Monday marked the first anniversary of their return to  power.