Seven killed in explosion near Kabul mosque

Wazir Akbar Khan mosque is often attended by senior Taliban commanders and fighters

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An explosion at a Kabul mosque after Friday prayers has killed at least seven people and injured more than 40, police said.

The blast took place outside a mosque in the Afghan capital, near the fortified former Green Zone that housed several embassies before the Taliban seized power last August.

The Wazir Akbar Khan mosque is often attended by senior Taliban commanders and fighters.

"After prayers, when people wanted to come out from the mosque, a blast happened," said Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran. "All casualties are civilians."

He later confirmed the death toll was seven, including children, and said 41 people had been injured.

Italian non-governmental organisation Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, earlier said it had received “14 casualties” from the explosion.

“Four of them were already dead on arrival,” it said on Twitter.

Unverified images posted on social media showed a mangled car engulfed in flames on a road outside the mosque.

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran confirmed the blast and “casualties”, but did not provide details.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Majid condemned the attack.

Taliban fighters investigate at a site after a blast near the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque that reportedly happened as people were leaving after Friday prayers in Kabul on Friday. AFP

“Attacking mosques and targeting worshippers is a serious and unforgivable crime,” he tweeted.

A bomb ripped through the same mosque in 2020, killing its imam.

While overall violence has dropped significantly across Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power, there have been regular bombings in Kabul and other cities.

Several mosques and clerics have been the targets of these attacks, some of which have been claimed by the ISIS affiliate operating in the country.

Two Russian embassy staff members were killed in a suicide bombing this month, the latest attack in the capital claimed by the group.

In August, 21 people were killed, including an imam, in an explosion at a mosque in the Khair Khana area.

Updated: September 23, 2022, 3:15 PM
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