Scores feared dead as bomb explodes at Afghan mosque during Friday prayers
A bomb has exploded inside a mosque in Afghanistan during Friday prayers, leaving multiple people wounded and injured.
An IED planted inside a mosque in the village of Traili, Nangarhar province, exploded around 1.30 pm while prayers were underway, Taliban officials said.
Initial reports of casualties varied, though it appears at least 15 people were hurt. One Taliban official also said there had been ‘fatalities’, but did not give a figure.
It is just the latest in a series of bomb attacks that have targeted Afghani mosques during Friday prayers, aimed at undermining Taliban rule.
Many Afghans supported the Taliban returning to power in the belief that the Islamist group would provide greater security.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for today’s explosion, though Nangarhar province is home territory for ISIS-K – the terror group’s Afghan branch.
ISIS-K has been behind many of the recent mosque bombings in Afghanistan.
Today’s attack appears unusual because locals said the target was a Sunni house of prayer. All previous attacks have hit Shia mosques.
ISIS-K is a fundamentalist Sunni group, whose members view Muslims of other sects as apostates and therefore legitimate targets for attacks.
Since coming to power in Afghanistan three months ago, the Taliban have been waging a counterinsurgency campaign, vowing to put down the threat from IS.
IS is an enemy of the Taliban. The two groups share a hard-line interpretation of Islam and over the years engaged in some of the same violent tactics, such as suicide bombings.
However, the Taliban have focused on seizing control of Afghanistan, while IS adheres to global jihad.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Taliban intelligence service told reporters in Kabul that the agency has arrested close to 600 IS members, including key figures and financial supporters.
The spokesman, Khalil Hamraz, said at least 33 IS members have been killed in gun battles with Taliban security forces.