Afghanistan mosque explosion kills, wounds scores of worshippers

At least 100 people have been killed or wounded Friday after an explosion at a Shiite Muslim mosque in northern Afghanistan, a Taliban police official said. 

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province. Dost Mohammad Obaida, the deputy police chief for Kunduz province, said that the majority of victims have been killed. 

People carry the body of a victim following a bombing in Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. A powerful explosion in a mosque frequented by a Muslim religious minority in northern Afghanistan on Friday has left several casualties, witnesses and the Taliban's spokesman said. (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

People carry the body of a victim following a bombing in Kunduz province, northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. A powerful explosion in a mosque frequented by a Muslim religious minority in northern Afghanistan on Friday has left several casualties, witnesses and the Taliban’s spokesman said. (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil) (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

The death toll – if confirmed – would stand as the highest since U.S. and NATO forces left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban took control of the country. 

Officials believe that the explosion may be the work of militants from Islamic State, which has a long history of attacking Afghanistan’s Shiite minority. 

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“I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” Obaida said, adding that an investigation was underway.

Mosques are typically crowded during the Friday noon prayer. Witness Ali Reza said he was praying at the time of the explosion and reported seeing many casualties. 

People view the damage inside of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz, province northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

People view the damage inside of a mosque following a bombing in Kunduz, province northern Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil) (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

Taliban leadership have since struggled with the growing threat from local Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K. 

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The affiliate group claimed responsibility for horrific attack on Aug. 26 that killed 13 U.S. military personnel and 170 Afghan citizens outside the Kabul airport during the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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