At least 80 people were killed and about 100 injured today in a terrorist attack on a Shiite mosque during crowded Friday prayers in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, although there is no official figure yet.
“A heavy explosion took place at the Sayed-Abad mosque, in which eighty people from the Shia community attending prayers have been killed and about 100 others injured,” Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a former member of the Kunduz provincial council, told EFE news agency.
Nazir Naeemi, a citizen who was at the site of the terrorist attack, said that “it seems that about 100 people have been killed and about 200 injured,” although the number is still unclear in the absence of an official figure from the authorities.
Former head of the province’s Refugee and Repatriation Department Muhamad Akbar said that when the blast took place “hundreds of people were gathered (at the mosque) for Friday prayers. I have information of more than 100 people killed and injured,” he said.
Videos from the mosque after the attack show dozens of bodies covered in blood with severed limbs lying on the ground amid debris and the anguished cries of people scrambling to help.
The Taliban offer no official version
The Taliban, who control the country since the capture of Kabul last August 15, have confirmed the explosion but have so far provided no official casualty figures.
“There has been a strong explosion in Kunduz province that caused many casualties, we do not know the exact number of victims at this time,” said a member of the fundamentalists’ Culture Commission, Jawad Sargar.
Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi added that members of the formation “have arrived in the area and have begun an investigation.”
The attack took place at a mosque in the Sayed-Abad area of Kunduz, capital of the province of the same name, said a government official deposed by the fundamentalists, who requested anonymity.
The mosque “belongs to our Shia brothers, many people have been killed or died in the blast, but right now the number is not clear because we are trying to evacuate the victims,” the official said.
So far, no armed group or organization has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Islamic State Attacks
The attack comes after at least two people were killed in an explosion last Sunday near the entrance of a mosque in Kabul, where it was holding a funeral ceremony for the death of the mother of the Taliban’s top spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.
The jihadist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, which was added to those it has carried out since the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan shortly before last August 31.
These attacks have left dozens of civilian and Taliban victims, especially in Kabul and in the eastern state of Nangarhar, bordering Pakistan and a stronghold of IS in Afghanistan.
The Taliban have launched massive operations against IS in several provinces of Afghanistan, with the aim of eliminating what they consider to be the main threat to their government.