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Afghanistan: Deadly blast hits packed Kandahar mosque

October 15, 2021

Suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in Afghanistan's second-largest city during Friday prayers. The "Islamic State" group claimed responsibility for the attack.

A man is comforted by two others outside the mosque
The mosque, in Kandahar, is frequented by members of the Shiite minority who are frequently targeted by the 'Islamic State'Image: Murteza Khaliqi/AA/picture alliance

Suicide bombers detonated at a Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing more than 30 people, the UN said.

The blasts occurred at the Imam Bargah mosque in the center of the city during Friday prayers, which typically draws large crowds of worshipers.

The UN mission to Afghanistan said that "terrorism continues in Afghanistan" as it condemned the "latest atrocity" against religious institutions and worshipers. 

IS claims responsibility 

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for Friday's attack. 

In a statement posted by IS' news agency, the group said two of their militants broke into the mosque after shooting two guards dead. 

They then blew themselves up between two groups of worshipers, one of which consisted of around 300 people, the statement added. 

Second week in a row

The explosion took place days after IS took credit for a bombing at a Shiite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz, which killed scores of people.

IS, which is opposed to the ruling Taliban, views Shiite Muslims as apostates deserving of death.

The Taliban took power in Afghanistan in mid-August just as US-led international forces pulled out, sparking a speedy evacuation effort.

The national army and police disbanded and government officials have fled, leaving a security vacuum in many places.

The Taliban have been fighting with IS, a Sunni terrorist group, since it emerged in Afghanistan in early 2015.

mm/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)