At least 100 people have been killed or wounded in a bombing in a mosque in Afghanistan, the Taliban has said.
The blast went off today, October 8, in the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz, the capital of the Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, said to be filled with Shiite Muslim worshippers.
It’s unclear who is responsible for the blast at the time of writing. Dost Mohammad Obaida, deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said the ‘majority of [the victims] have been killed’ and the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber who spoke to worshippers beforehand.
‘I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,’ Obaida said, AP reports. An investigation has been launched into the bombing.
While the death toll is still to be confirmed, it would mark the highest loss of life since US troops withdrew from the country in August, prompting the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan again.
Hussaindad Rezayee, a local resident, went to the mosque after hearing the explosion. ‘I was busy at home doing construction work, and when the prayers started, the explosion happened. I came to look for my relatives, the mosque was full,’ he told the outlet.
Chief Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the arrival of Taliban special forces on the scene, warning that the Shiite mosque had been a ‘target’ and a ‘large number’ of those inside had been killed.
ISIS has yet to comment on the attack, but both the Taliban and Shiite Muslims have been recently targeted by IS militants, including two deadly bombings in Kabul. The terrorist group has taken responsibility for past attacks against the minority community.
The United Nations mission in Afghanistan said the bombing was ‘part of a disturbing pattern of violence’ against Afghan religious institutions.