Many feared death, including prominent clerics, after bombing a mosque in Kabul


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

There was no immediate acknowledgment of responsibility for the attack that recently hit the country in the year since The Taliban seized power.

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

According to the eyewitness, a resident of the Kher Khanna neighborhood where the Siddiquiya Mosque was attacked, the blast was carried out by a suicide bomber. The cleric killed was Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli, the eyewitness said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He added that more than 30 other people were injured. The Italian Emergency Hospital in Kabul said at least 27 wounded civilians, including five children, were taken there from the site of the bomb blast.

Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, confirmed an explosion at a mosque in northern Kabul but would not provide casualty figures or a breakdown of the dead and wounded.

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

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, a US-led invasion toppled the previous Taliban government that had hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

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

Separately, the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they had captured and killed Mehdi Mujahid in western Herat province as he attempted to cross the border with Iran.

Mujahid was a former Taliban commander in Balkhab district of northern Sar-e-Pul province and the only member of the Hazara Shia minority in the Taliban ranks.

Mujahid turned against the Taliban last year after rejecting decisions by Taliban leaders in Kabul.

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