Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack that Afghan media said killed 46 people and wounded 143 as they prayed at a mosque in a minority Shi’ite Muslim community in Kunduz province, north of Kabul
A suicide blast killed scores and left more than 100 wounded as they attended Friday prayers at a mosque in Afghanistan.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on a minority Shi’ite Muslim place of worship in Kunduz province, around 200 miles north of Kabul.
The attack killed scores of worshippers – with state-run Bakhtar news agency reporting 46 fatalities and 143 injured.
But two health officials who spoke to Reuters said the death toll could be between 70 and 80.
Harrowing video footage showed bodies surrounded by debris inside the mosque.
The blast, which the United Nations’ mission in Afghanistan called part of a disturbing pattern of violence, follows others in recent days at a mosque in Kabul and a religious school in the eastern province of Khost.
There have been similar attacks in recent weeks, some of which have also been claimed by Islamic State, whose fighters are Sunni Muslims.
The attacks underscore security challenges facing the Taliban, which took over the country in August and have since carried out operations against Islamic State cells in Kabul.
It comes after US President Joe Biden warned of a “growing risk of attack” by IS-K a terror group operating in Afghanistan, who are the “sworn enemy” of the Taliban.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K, is the Islamic State’s Central Asian province offshoot, formed in 2015.
The area they target encompasses parts of modern day Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
In a 2018 report they were said to have been responsible for nearly 100 attacks against civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as about 250 clashes with the US security forces since January 2017.
In a warning President Joe Biden said US and allied forces run the risk of attack by ISIS affiliates and straining a “tenuous” working relationship with the Taliban if they stay in Afghanistan longer.
The president said there were “increasing risks” for US troops and their allies staying in Afghanistan beyond August 31.
He said: “There are real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration the longer we stay, starting with the acute and growing risk of attack by a terrorist group known as IS-K, an IS affiliate in Afghanistan, which is a sworn enemy of the Taliban as well.
“Every day we are on the ground is another day we know that ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both US and allied forces and innocent civilians.
“Additionally, thus far, the Taliban have been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out, but as a tenuous situation – we have already had some gunfighting break out – we run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on.”
Senior sources have told the Mirror there is a “real risk now” of Islamic State assaulting the evacuation crowds with bombs and follow-up small arms fire.