KABUL: Islamic State Khorasan, also known as ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province on Friday, according to New York Times.
According to the publication, it was the group’s deadliest strike since the suicide bombing at the international airport in Kabul on August 26 that killed about 170 civilians and 13 US troops.
Friday’s blast ripped through Sayed Abad Mosque in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province as local residents attended the mosque for Friday prayer, reported Russia Today.
The blast has claimed more than 100 lives. “More than 100 people were killed and about 20 people were injured in the explosion in the mosque,” Sputnik quoting the eyewitness reported.
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by ISIL-affiliated terrorists against them have increased. The rise in terrorist attacks has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two groups.
Earlier on Sunday, at least 12 people died and 32 others suffered injuries in a blast at a mosque in Kabul. The incident took place in a crowded place at Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul.
Pakistan condemns blast
Pakistan has condemned the explosion in a Shiite mosque in Kunduz, that killed or wounded about a hundred worshippers attending the Friday prayer congregation..
The Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid also confirmed the incident, saying a Shiite mosque had come under attack in Kunduz where a “large number” of people were either killed or wounded.
“We are deeply grieved at the dastardly terrorist attack on a mosque today in Kunduz province of Afghanistan which has reportedly resulted in loss of innumerable precious lives and injuries to many others,” the Pakistan foreign office said in an official statement.
“The Government and people of Pakistan stand in solidarity with their Afghan brethren,” it continued. “We convey our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their dear ones and wish early recovery to the injured.”
Reuters quoted Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz, as saying the attack may have been carried out by a suicide bomber.
“I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” he said, adding that an investigation was underway.
UN chief condemns horrific blast
United Nations Security General Antonio Guterres has condemned the horrific attack at a Shia mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz, saying that the attacks targeting civilians, who are exercising the right to freely practice their religion, are violations of fundamental human rights.
Guterres, in a statement released by his spokesperson, said, “The perpetrators must be brought to justice.” The Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished for a speedy recovery for the injured.
According to news reports, the attack was claimed by the local Islamic State terrorist group affiliate, known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (IKSP). More than 100 people were killed and about 20 people were injured in the explosion.
IKSP has previously targeted the Shia Muslim community in Sunni-majority Afghanistan.
Terrorists from IKSP, carried out the deadly attack at Kabul airport last month, which killed 13 United States military personnel, and 169 Afghan civilians.
The UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, tweeted that it was deeply concerned over the recent spate of attacks, which apart from the bombing of Sayyidabad mosque on Friday, included an incident claimed by IKSP on Sunday near a mosque in Kabul, and Wednesday’s attack on a school in Khost, which is so far, unclaimed. “Today’s incident is part of a disturbing pattern of violence”, said UNAMA.
In a tweet, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said that the bombings and targetting of houses of worship, “highlights the vulnerability of ordinary Afghans, especially religious minorities. Our hearts are with the victims and we hope for justice.” (ANI)