Bombing at Kabul mosque kills 10 people

A bomb attack at a mosque in the Afghan capital Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday killed at least 10 people, including a prominent cleric, a witness and police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the latest to hit the country in the year since the Taliban took power.

The local branch of the Islamic State group has stepped up attacks on the Taliban and civilians since the former insurgents took over last August when US and NATO troops were in their final stages. of withdrawal from the country. Last week, IS claimed responsibility for killing a prominent Taliban cleric at his religious center in Kabul.

According to a witness, a resident living in the Kher Khanna neighborhood of the city, where the Siddiquiya Mosque is located, the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber. The murdered cleric was Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli, the witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He added that more than 30 others were injured. At least 27 injured civilians, including five children, were brought here from the site of the explosion, the Italian Emergency Hospital in Kabul said.

Khalid Zadran, a Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, confirmed an explosion inside a mosque north of Kabul but would not give casualty figures or incidents of dead and wounded. .

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also condemned the blast and vowed that “the perpetrators of such crimes will soon be brought to justice and will be punished.”

A US-led invasion toppled the previous Taliban government, which had hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Since regaining power, former insurgents have faced a crippling economic crisis as the international community, which does not recognize the Taliban government, has frozen funding to the country. .

Separately, the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they had captured and killed Mehdi killed in the western province of Herat as he was trying to cross the border into Iran.

Mujahid is a former Taliban commander in the Balkhab district of northern Sar-e-Pul province, and the only member of the minority Shiite Hazara community in the Taliban ranks.

Mujahid has turned his back on the Taliban over the past year, after protesting the decisions of Taliban leaders in Kabul.

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