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Explosion at Kabul mosque kills worshippers


The Associated Press spoke to Wahid outside the Italian-run emergency hospital, where he had gone to give blood, but Taliban guards cordoned off the hospital, denying access to everyone but the wounded. He finally found his brother, wounded in the arm and leg.

The hospital, which treats only the war-wounded, tweeted that its staff reported the facility has admitted at least “23 wounded” and two who died shortly after the explosion.

People leave the site of an explosion as a Taliban fighter stands guard in Kabul.

People leave the site of an explosion as a Taliban fighter stands guard in Kabul.Credit:AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Javid, who appeared to be in his late 20s, said he was on his way to the mosque to join his brother and cousin who were already there, when he heard the explosion. He rushed to the scene.

“I was so afraid and ran there,” he said, adding that he had found both his brother and their cousin, slightly injured and released after treatment. The explosion was so powerful, Javid said the roof of the mosque collapsed.

Wahid and Javid would only give their first names to the AP, fearing for their own safety.

The United Nations condemned the explosion, describing it as “heinous” and “yet another painful blow to the people of Afghanistan who continue to be exposed to unremitting insecurity and violence,” according to Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN’s deputy special representative coordinating humanitarian relief.

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“It is unconscionable for civilians to be targeted indiscriminately as they go about their daily business, gathering for prayers, going to school or the market, or on their way to work,” he said.

The explosion was the latest in a series of such blasts amid relentless attacks across the country. Similar attacks on mosques have recently targeted the country’s minority Shiite Muslims and were claimed by the Islamic State group’s regional affiliate, known as Islamic State in Khorasan Province or IS-K.

IS has stepped up its attacks across Afghanistan to become the primary enemy of the Taliban since their takeover of the country last August.

Despite Taliban claims to have routed IS from its headquarters in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, the militant group’s renewed assaults on mosques, schools and buses underscores the intransigent threat it poses.

Ambulance carrying wounded people leaves the site of an explosion.

Ambulance carrying wounded people leaves the site of an explosion.Credit:AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Last week, 33 Shiite worshippers died in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, when a bomb struck their mosque and an adjacent religious school. IS has claimed responsibility for that attack.

There are also other militant groups operating in Afghanistan and despite Taliban promises that Afghan territory would not be used to harbor non-Afghan insurgents, militants fighting many of Afghanistan’s neighbours have found a safe haven in the country.

The relentless bombings have prompted protests by minority Shiites and have seriously undermined Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers as they transition from insurgency and war to governing and trying to bring security to the war-ravaged nation.

AP

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