Blast at Afghan mosque kills or wounds dozens, Taliban and aid groups say

A severe explosion hit a Shiite Muslim mosque in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing or injuring at least 100 people, according to a Taliban official and a UN agency.

So far, no group has held responsibility for the explosion, which took place during a weekly prayer in Kunduz, the capital of the province of the same name.

The terrorist group “Islamic State” has launched attacks against the country’s Shiite Muslim minority in the past.

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If the death toll is confirmed to be dozens, it would be the worst attack on Afghanistan since the August suicide attack on Kabul airport when US forces withdrew from the country.

In one Declaration published on Twitter, announced the United Nations Relief Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) that “according to initial information, more than 100 people were killed and injured” in the explosion.

“The UN family in #Afghanistan is deeply concerned about reports of very high casualties,” it said.

The Kunduz explosion occurred during the weekly Friday prayer in the Gozar-e-Sayed-Abad mosque.Abdullah Sahil / EP

MSF “implemented a mass accident plan” for its Kunduz trauma center, UK medical charity spokeswoman Dalila Mahdawi told NBC News.

“So far, 90 wounded and 20 dead have been hospitalized and the team works tirelessly in the emergency room and operating rooms,” she said.

Mahdawi added that more injured people were being admitted to the nearby regional hospital.

Kunduz province deputy police chief Dost Mohammad Obaida said the “majority” of those attending the prayer service had “been killed,” according to The Associated Press.

He said the attack could have been carried out by a suicide bomber who broke into the mosque among believers.

“I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are ready to keep them safe,” Obaida said, adding that an investigation was ongoing.

Friday noon prayer is the highlight of the week, and mosques are usually overcrowded.Abdullah Sahil / EP

Witness Ali Reza told AP that he was praying when the explosion hit the mosque. He said he saw many victims.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack on Twitter. He said it was contrary to all human and Islamic principles and values.

It comes as the Taliban leadership grapples with a growing threat from the Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K group.

Taliban fighters have been targeted in a number of deadly attacks by rival militants, including ambushes and an explosion in a mosque in the capital, Kabul.

ISIS has also declared war on the Afghan Shiite minority and assumed responsibility for some of the worst attacks on the community, including attacks on their mosques in Kabul and western Herat province.

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