Multiple suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province during Friday prayer services. Local health officials said at least 33 people were killed and 73 wounded in the incident with casualty rates expected to rise further.
“The situation is very bad. Mirwais hospital is messaging and calling on young people to give blood,” said a local reporter.
Various eyewitnesses reported seeing three or four suicide bombers enter the Imam Bargha Ptima mosque in the city of Kunduz, detonating themselves at both the exterior security gate and inside the building, where about 500 worshipers were gathered for Friday prayer services – usually the biggest services of the week for Muslims.
A Taliban spokesman confirmed the attack, but provided no other details to foreign media while local outlets were quickly on the scene.
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The BBC reported Taliban “special forces” took control of the area around the mosque and are asking local citizens for blood donations. At least 15 ambulances were seen gathered around the site. Local clinics reported receiving a flood of casualties.
Another Shiite mosque in Kunduz was bombed during prayers last Friday, killing 46 people at last count. The Islamic State, known as ISIS-K in Afghanistan, took responsibility for that attack. ISIS-K is a bitter foe of the Taliban and frequently targets the Shiite minority in Afghanistan. ISIS-K appears to be placing a priority on showing the Taliban cannot fulfill its promises to provide safety for its subjects.
Islamic State bombers are also targeting Taliban officials in northern and eastern Afghanistan. On Thursday, the Taliban chief of police in the city of Asadabad, capital of Kunar province, was killed by a roadside bomb. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but ISIS-K was seen as the most likely perpetrator.