On October 15th, a blast at a Shia Mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan killed at least 33 people and wounding 73, officials said, the second massive attack in a week targeting worshippers from the minority sect.
Qari Saeed Khosti, the spokesman of the Taliban’s new government’s interior ministry said, the blast which took place during Friday prayers caused “heavy casualties”, adding that authorities are collecting details of the explosion.
The latest incident came just a week after a bomb attack claimed by the Daesh terrorist group on a Shia mosque in the country’s northeastern city of Kunduz killed more than 150 people and left score of others injured.
There have been several attacks in Afghanistan in recent weeks, some of which have been claimed by ISIS-K, the offshoot of Islamic State in Afghanistan.
The terrorist bombing on October 8th came after the Taliban said they do not consider “ISIS a threat, but a headache.”
Photographs and mobile phone footage posted by journalists on social media showed many people apparently dead or seriously wounded on the bloody floor of the Imam Bargah mosque.
The embassy of Iran, Afghanistan’s neighbour and the region’s largest Shi’ite power, condemned the attack.
“We hope Taliban leaders take decisive action against these wicked terrorist incidents,” it said in a tweet.
Taliban special forces arrived to secure the site and an appeal went out to residents to donate blood for the wounded.
The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack, underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Taliban grapple with an escalating economic and humanitarian crisis that threatens millions with hunger.
The local affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan after an ancient name for the region covering Afghanistan, has stepped up attacks following the Taliban victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.
The fact that the Shi’ite minority has again been targeted may also inflame tensions among ethnic and sectarian groups in the largely Sunni country. Most Shi’ites in Afghanistan belong to the Hazara ethnic group of Persian speakers, who have complained of persecution under the mainly Pashtun-speaking Taliban in the past.
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