Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly mosque bombing in southern Afghanistan

·1 min read

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

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The big picture: A suicide bombing, claimed by local Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K, killed at least 46 worshippers in the northern city of Kunduz earlier this month.

  • The Taliban have vowed to protect the country's Shiite minority, who were persecuted under the militant group's brutal rule in the 1990s.

State of play: IS said in a statement on Friday that two of the group’s members shot and killed security guards protecting the entrance of the Fatimiya mosque, per AP.

  • The attack involved multiple explosions, the New York Times reported, citing eyewitnesses.

  • "There are so many who have lost body parts, and among those in hospital in serious condition, I don’t know how many more numbers will be added to the death toll," community elder Hajji Farhad said, per AP.

  • Shiite leader Sayed Mohammed Agha urged the Taliban government to protect the Shiite minority saying, "our enemies will harm our society by any means they can."

  • Interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti tweeted that Taliban forces are in the area to investigate the attack "and bring the perpetrators to justice."

  • The UN mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack and called for those responsible to be held to account.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details.

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