Dozens Killed As Blast Hits Shia Mosque In Northern Afghanistan

Kabul- A bombing at a mosque in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif has killed at least 31 worshipers and injured more than 80, in the second major attack on the Shia Hazara community in Afghanistan in a week.

Afghan media reports quoting health officials said that 31 dead bodies and 80 wounded had so far been brought to the main Abu Ali Sina hospital in Mazar-e-Sharif.

The death toll could rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition, they said.

Images of the victims being carried to hospital from the Seh Dokan mosque were posted on social media. The images also showed a scene littered with broken glass.

Daesh terrorists claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement on the group's Telegram channel.

The statement added that the attack on the Mazar-i-Sharif mosque was carried out using a remotely detonated booby-trapped bag when the building was packed with worshipers.

On Tuesday, two blasts outside a school in a Hazara community neighborhood of Kabul killed at least 20 people and wounded more than two dozen others.

The Hazara community, the poorest of the country’s ethnic groups, accounts for about 22 percent of Afghanistan’s population. Its members have been targeted in several large-scale kidnappings and killings across Afghanistan in the past.

In May last year at least 85 people -- mainly girl students -- were killed and about 300 wounded when three bombs exploded near their school in the Shia-dominated Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood of Kabul.

In October 2020, Daesh admitted attacking an educational center in the same area that killed 24 people, including students.

In May 2020, the group was blamed for a bloody attack on a maternity ward of a hospital in the same neighborhood that killed 25 people, including new mothers.

Daesh has a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan, particularly in Nangarhar, which is regarded as its base in the war-torn country. It has recently claimed responsibility for several attacks across Afghanistan.

Blast kills four people in Kunduz

Separately, at least four people were killed and 18 wounded in a blast in Kunduz, another northern Afghan city.

Provincial police spokesman Obaidullah Abedi said it was caused by a bicycle bomb targeting a vehicle carrying mechanics working for a Taliban military unit.

Since seizing power, the Taliban have regularly raided suspected Daesh hideouts in the eastern Nangarhar province.

Taliban officials insist their forces have defeated Daesh, but analysts say the terrorist group is a key security challenge. It has claimed some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years.

Security in Afghanistan has vastly improved since the Taliban’s takeover of the country. However, several attacks are reported each week throughout the country, including some claimed by Daesh.

The Taliban, who had previously ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, took power again on August 15 as the US was in the middle of a chaotic troop withdrawal. The group announced the formation of a caretaker government on September 7. No country has yet recognized their rule.

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