At least 20 people are killed in an explosion in a Shiite church in northeastern Afghanistan. Videos of people fleeing in Kunduz are shared on social networks. The terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) is suspected of having carried out the attack.
At least 20 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. So far, 20 dead and 90 injured have been brought to a hospital in Kunduz operated by the aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), a spokesman for the organization said on Friday. More victims were admitted to a nearby regional hospital, it said.
The spokesman for the militant Islamist Taliban had previously announced that “several people had been killed and injured” in an explosion in a Shiite mosque in Kunduz. Taliban special forces are on site and an investigation into the incident has begun, it said. According to local media, the incident happened during Friday prayers. Even higher numbers of victims were feared.
Local journalists reported more than 70 fatalities and dozens of injuries. There were initially no exact official information. Dozens of dead and injured people can be seen on videos shared on social media. Another video shows men and women running down a street and screaming after the alleged explosion.
IS is suspected
Journalist Saki Darjabi wrote on Twitter that unconfirmed reports indicate that it was an attack by a suicide bomber. So far, no one has confessed to the attack. In the past, the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia in particular attacked Shiite targets in Afghanistan. However, the IS attacks mainly occurred in the capital Kabul and the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar.
Most recently, the IS claimed, among other things, a devastating attack at the end of August at Kabul airport during the ongoing international military evacuation mission which, according to media reports, resulted in almost 200 deaths. According to Afghanistan expert Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network think tank, the IS attacks do not mean that the group has grown stronger. After the loss of its bases in eastern Afghanistan in 2019 and 2020, remains apparently lived underground that were capable of such attacks.
In mid-August, the Taliban took over military power in Afghanistan. The army and police fell apart and government officials fled. The Islamists proclaimed a government. This is confronted with numerous problems, including ensuring security in the country. The Taliban are enemies of IS and have been fighting it since it appeared in Afghanistan in early 2015. According to Ruttig, IS attacks show that – like the previous government – the Taliban are not in a position to completely stop terrorism carried out by rivals.