By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Kabul: An explosion ripped through a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan, killing or wounding at least 100 people who were attending Friday prayers, according to Taliban officials.
Dost Mohammad Obaida, a police official in northern Kunduz province, where the blast took place, said of the dead and wounded, the “majority of them have been killed,” according to reports.
Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the mosque was targeted, tweeting: “This afternoon, an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shiite compatriots in the Khan Abad district of Bandar, the capital of Kunduz province, as a result of which a number of our compatriots were martyred and wounded.”
He did not give a specific number for the casualties.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan later tweeted that it was “deeply concerned” about what it said were reports of more than 100 people killed, referring to the explosion as “a suicide blast” inside the mosque.
“Today’s incident is part of a disturbing pattern of violence: 3rd deadly attack this week apparently targeting a religious institution,” UNAMA said.
Witnesses in Kunduz province, where the blast took place, said they were praying when they heard the explosion. They also reported many casualties.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Shiite Muslims have long been a target of violence by extremists in predominately Sunni Afghanistan. The Taliban, which regained control of the country after two decades out of power, have specifically targeted the minority group in the past.
When they last held power from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban massacred hundreds of Shiite civilians. In the lead up to their capture of the Afghan capital in August, Amnesty International says the Taliban was responsible for killing nine men from the Hazara ethnic group, which is predominately Shiite.
The Islamic State in Khorasan has also carried out recent deadly bombings in Kabul. In May, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on a mosque in Kabul and another mosque attack in the capital on Sunday that killed at least five people. IS has also been implicated in attacks on the country’s religious minorities.