At least 47 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in bomb blasts at a Shia mosque at the centre of Afghan city of Kandahar during busy Friday prayers.
According to reports the Daesh (Islamic State) group has claimed responsibility for a mosque attack in Afghanistan.
Suicide bombers attacked a Shia mosque packed with worshippers attending Friday prayers in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 47 people and wounding 70, a Taliban official said. It was the deadliest day since the US military withdrawal.
The attack came a week after a bombing claimed by the local Daesh affiliate killed 46 people at a Shia mosque in northern Afghanistan.
The sectarian bloodletting has raised fears that Daesh — an enemy of both the Taliban and the West — is expanding its foothold in Afghanistan.
Hafiz Sayeed, the Taliban’s chief for Kandahar’s department of culture and information, said 47 people had been killed and at least 70 wounded in the attack.
Murtaza, who like many Afghans goes by one name, said he was inside the mosque during the attack and reported four explosions: two outside and two inside. He said Friday prayers at the mosque typically draw hundreds of people.
Scenes of carnage
Another witness, also named Murtaza, was in charge of security at the mosque and said he saw two bombers. He said one detonated explosives outside the gate, and the other was already among the worshippers inside the mosque.
He said the mosque’s security personnel shot another suspected attacker outside.
Video footage showed bodies scattered across bloodstained carpets, with survivors walking around in a daze or crying out in anguish.
Daesh has claimed a number of deadly bombings across the country since the Taliban seized power in August amid the withdrawal of US forces. The group has also targeted Taliban fighters in smaller attacks.
The attack is the first major assault by the extremist group in southern Afghanistan since the US departure enabled the Taliban to consolidate control of the country. Recent attacks in the north, the east and the Afghan capital have cast doubt on the Taliban’s ability to counter the threat posed by Daesh.
The Taliban has pledged to restore peace and security after decades of war and has also given the US assurances that it will not allow the country to be used as a base for launching extremist attacks on other countries.
The Taliban has pledged to protect Afghanistan’s Shia minority.
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