During the Friday prayers, a suicide bomber of an Islamic State (IS) attacked a mosque in the northeastern Kunduz province of Afghanistan, killing at least forty-six people and wounding 143 worshippers. It is the latest security challenge to the Taliban government as they transition from insurgency to governance. IS claimed responsibility for the brutal attack, and two local health officials told Reuters that the death toll could be touch seventy or eighty.
In Kunduz, a suicide attack inside a Shiite mosque killed over 100 people, and wounded over 150 others, sources said. There are fears of higher death toll. No group has claimed credit for it. #Afghanistan
— Ehsanullah Amiri (@euamiri) October 8, 2021
Video footage showed that debris surrounded the bodies of the minority Shi’ite Muslim community. The United Nations mission in Afghanistan called the blast part of a disturbing pattern of violence in the country, and it follows others in recent days at a mosque in a religious school in the eastern province of Khost and a mosque in the Afghan capital Kabul. Moreover, the deadly attacks highlight security challenges facing the Taliban government, which took over Afghanistan in mid-August and since then carried out operations against IS cells in the capital.
A few days back, an attack occurred in another mosque in central Kabul that killed around seven Afghans. While the Monday attack targeted the gates of Eidgah Mosque in Kabul, where a funeral service was undergoing for the mother of Taliban spokesperson Mujahid. The IS affiliate IS Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed the responsibility of the Monday suicide attack, one of the series of attacks the terrorist group launched since the Taliban took control of the country. Other attacks include a suicide attack at Kabul International Airport in August.
Biden Administration Condemned the Attack
The Biden government condemned Friday’s suicide attack in Afghanistan. Ned Price, the State Department spokesperson, stated that the Afghans deserve a future free of terror. Unfortunately, the death toll of forty-six is the highest in an attack in the country since the withdrawal of the U.S. troops.
We condemn today’s attack on worshippers at Friday prayers in Kunduz, Afghanistan and send our deepest condolences to those victims of the explosion. Afghans deserve a future free of terror. https://t.co/K5Qj0pwf2z
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) October 8, 2021
Sayed Hussain Alimi Balkhi, a prominent Shiite cleric, requested the Taliban leaders to provide security for Afghan Shiites. Further, he added that they expect the government security forces to provide security for the mosques since they collected the arms supplied for the security purpose of the worship places.
Amnesty International shared a report earlier this week, which found that the Taliban leaders illegally killed thirteen Hazaras Shiites, including a seventeen-year-old girl, in Daykundi province, after former government’s security forces members surrendered. In Kunduz province, Hazaras make up around six percent of the total population of the province, of approximately one million people.