Subscribe to Secularism is a Womens Issue

Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > Afghanistan: At least 41 dead, scores injured in Kandahar mosque (...)

Afghanistan: At least 41 dead, scores injured in Kandahar mosque explosion

Friday 15 October 2021, by siawi3

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1652196/at-least-41-dead-scores-injured-in-kandahar-mosque-explosion

At least 41 dead, scores injured in Kandahar mosque explosion

AFP

Published October 15, 2021 - Updated 26 minutes ago

Photos:
An inside view of the blast-hit mosque in Kandahar in which at least 16 people lost their lives. — Picture via Ayesha Tanzeem/Twitter
A Taliban fighter looks out from inside a Shia mosque in Kandahar on October 15, 2021, after an explosion during Friday prayers that killed at least 41 people and injured scores more, Taliban officials said. — AFP
Shuttered glasses is seen inside the mosque following a suicide attack in the city of Kandahar on Oct 15. — AP
Members of Taliban stand guard near a Shia mosque in Kandahar, Afghanisan on Oct 15, 2021, after at least 16 people were killed and 32 wounded when explosions hit the mosque. — AFP
An inside view of the blast-hit mosque in Kandahar in which at least 16 people lost their lives. — Picture via Ayesha Tanzeem/Twitter
A Taliban fighter looks out from inside a Shia mosque in Kandahar on October 15, 2021, after an explosion during Friday prayers that killed at least 41 people and injured scores more, Taliban officials said. — AFP
Shuttered glasses is seen inside the mosque following a suicide attack in the city of Kandahar on Oct 15. — AP
Members of Taliban stand guard near a Shia mosque in Kandahar, Afghanisan on Oct 15, 2021, after at least 16 people were killed and 32 wounded when explosions hit the mosque. — AFP
An inside view of the blast-hit mosque in Kandahar in which at least 16 people lost their lives. — Picture via Ayesha Tanzeem/Twitter

Suicide bombers attacked a Shia mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar during Friday prayers, witnesses said, killing at least 41 people and injuring scores more.

The assault came just a week after a suicide attack on Shia worshippers at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

There has not yet been any claim of responsibility for the attack in Kandahar, the spiritual heartland of the Taliban.

“Our initial information shows it was a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside the mosque. We have launched an investigation to find out more,” a local Taliban official told AFP.

Hafiz Abdulhai Abbas, director of health for Kandahar, told AFP: “Information from the hospitals shows 41 killed about 70 wounded in today’s mosque attack.”

At least 15 ambulances were seen rushing to and from the scene, as Taliban security threw a cordon around the area.

“We are overwhelmed,” a doctor at the city’s central Mirwais hospital told AFP.

“There are too many dead bodies and wounded people brought to our hospital. We are expecting more to come. We are in urgent need of blood. We have asked all the local media in Kandahar to ask people to come and donate blood.”

Eyewitnesses spoke of gunfire alongside the explosions, and a security guard assigned to protect the mosque said three of his comrades had been shot as the bombers fought their way in.

Sayed Rohullah told AFP: “It was the Friday prayer time, and when we were preparing I heard shots. Two people had entered the mosque.

“They had opened fire on the guards and in response the guards had also opened fire on them. One of them committed a suicide blast inside the mosque.”

Two more attackers detonated their bombs in crowded areas outside the main building, he and other witnesses said.

“We are saddened to learn that an explosion took place in a mosque of the Shia brotherhood in the first district of Kandahar city in which a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded,” tweeted Taliban interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the Islamic Emirate condemned the incident and considered it a “great crime”. He said that the perpetrators would be arrested and brought to justice.

Many worshippers

Inside the mosque, after the blast, the walls were pockmarked with shrapnel and volunteers swept up debris in the ornately painted prayer hall. Rubble lay in an entrance corridor.

Last Friday, an Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque in Kunduz, killing scores of people.

The group, a bitter rival of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attacks against Shia worshippers, whom it regards as heretics.

UK-based conflict analysis firm ExTrac said that if claimed by IS-K, Friday’s assault would be the first by the group in Kandahar, and the fourth mass casualty massacre since the Taliban took Kabul.

ExTrac researcher Abdul Sayed told AFP the attack was “challenging the Taliban claims of holding control on the country. If the Taliban can’t protect Kandahar from an IS-K attack, how could it protect the rest of the country?”

The UN mission in Afghanistan tweeted: “The UN condemns latest atrocity targeting a religious institution and worshippers. Those responsible need to be held to account.”

The Taliban, which seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August after overthrowing the US-backed government, has its own history of persecuting Shias.

But the new Taliban-led administration has vowed to stabilise the country, and in the wake of the Kunduz attack promised to protect the Shia minority now living under its rule.

Shias are estimated to make up roughly 10 per cent of the Afghan population. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.

°°°

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1650836/at-least-55-killed-scores-injured-in-suicide-attack-at-mosque-in-afghanistans-kunduz

At least 55 killed, scores injured in suicide attack at mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz

AFP

Published October 8, 2021

Photos:
Blood stains are seen outside a mosque after an explosion in Kunduz, Afghanistan. — AP
People inspect the inside of a mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan, following an explosion. — AP
People carry the body of a victim following an explosion at a mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan. — AP
Blood stains are seen outside a mosque after an explosion in Kunduz, Afghanistan. — AP
People inspect the inside of a mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan, following an explosion. — AP
People carry the body of a victim following an explosion at a mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan. — AP
Blood stains are seen outside a mosque after an explosion in Kunduz, Afghanistan. — AP

A suicide bomb attack on worshippers at a Shia mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 55 people on Friday, in the bloodiest assault since US forces left the country.

Scores more victims from the minority community were wounded in the blast, which has not been claimed but appears designed to further destabilise Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

A medical source at the Kunduz Provincial Hospital said that 35 dead and more than 55 wounded had been taken there, while Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital said 20 were dead and scores more wounded.

Matiullah Rohani, director of culture and information in Kunduz for Afghanistan’s new Taliban government, confirmed to AFP that the deadly incident was a suicide attack and that at least 46 people had died and 143 were wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier said “an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shia compatriots” in Kunduz.

Bilal Karimi, a Taliban security official, added that targeting civilians was the “ultimate low”. He said that the Islamic Emirate would not allow the criminals to go unpunished.

Residents of Kunduz, the capital of a province of the same name, told AFP the blast hit a Shia mosque during Friday prayers.

Zalmai Alokzai, a local businessman who rushed to Kunduz Provincial Hospital to check whether doctors needed blood donations, described horrific scenes.

“Ambulances were going back to the incident scene to carry the dead,” he said.

An international aid worker at the MSF hospital in the city told AFP there were fears the death toll could rise even further.

“Hundreds of people are gathered at the main gate of the hospital and crying for their relatives but armed Taliban guys are trying to prevent gatherings in case another explosion is planned,” he said.

Islamic State group claims attack

Meanwhile, the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) group claimed responsibility for the deadly suicide bomb attack.

In a statement released on its Telegram channels, the group said that an IS suicide bomber “detonated an explosive vest amid a crowd” of Shia worshippers who had gathered inside the mosque.

In a second statement, IS said the “perpetrator of the attack was an Uighur Muslim”, a minority that the “Taliban had vowed to expel” from Afghanistan.

The militant group, bitter rivals of the Taliban, has repeatedly targeted Shias in a bid to stir up sectarian violence in Afghanistan.

Frightened crowds

Graphic images shared on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed several bloodied bodies lying on the floor. Pictures showed plumes of smoke rising into the air over Kunduz. Another video showed men shepherding people, including women and children, away from the scene.
Frightened crowds thronged the streets.

Aminullah, an eyewitness whose brother was at the mosque, told AFP: “After I heard the explosion, I called my brother but he did not pick up.

“I walked towards the mosque and found my brother wounded and faint. We immediately took him to the MSF hospital.”

A female teacher in Kunduz told AFP the blast happened near her house, and several of her neighbours were killed.

“It was a very terrifying incident,” she said. “Many of our neighbours have been killed and wounded. A 16-year-old neighbour was killed. They couldn’t find half of his body. Another neighbour who was 24 was killed as well.”

Kunduz’s location makes it a key transit point for economic and trade exchanges with Tajikistan.

It was the scene of fierce battles as the Taliban fought their way back into power this year.

Persecuted community

Shias make up roughly 20 per cent of the Afghan population. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.

In October 2017, a lone IS suicide attacker struck a Shia mosque as worshippers gathered for evening prayers in the west of Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 including women and children.

And in May this year, a series of bombings outside a school in the capital killed at least 85 people — mostly young girls. More than 300 were wounded in this attack on the Hazara community.