Afghanistan: Bomb at Kabul mosque 'kills civilians', Taliban says

·2-min read

At least five civilians were killed in a bomb blast at the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, a Taliban interior ministry spokesman said.

Qari Saeed Khosti, who confirmed the deaths, had earlier said that at least two people had been killed and three injured.

Initial reports indicate the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb. Three suspects have been arrested, according to Taliban official spokesman Bilal Karimi. He added an investigation was ongoing.

The bomb targeted the Eidgah Mosque in Kabul where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

According to the spokesman, the bomb went off near the entrance to the mosque, the second biggest in the city.

The Taliban announced on Saturday that prayers would take place at the mosque on Sunday afternoon for Mujahid's mother.

Ahmadullah, a shopkeeper whose store is close to the mosque, told AFP he "heard the sound of an explosion followed by gunfire". He added that just before the blast, the Taliban had closed the road because of the prayer ceremony.

Mohammad Israil, a Kabul resident, also said he heard the blast: “I heard a loud sound. All the people were running away."

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by Islamic State group militants against them have increased. The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.

In late August at least 72 Afghan civilians and 13 US soldiers were killed, and more than 150 people injured, in a bomb attack at Kabul airport. A branch of IS known as IS-K said it had carried it out.

IS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy. It has claimed several attacks against them, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad. Attacks in Kabul have so far been rare.

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