Afghanistan: Suicide attack hits Kandahar mosque during prayers

Suicide bombers hit a Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar during Friday prayers, killing at least 50 people, a local police commander has said.

The attack comes a week after an Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a crowded Shiite mosque during Friday prayers in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, killing nearly 50 worshipers and wounding dozens more.

Pictures from inside the Bibi Fatima mosque show shattered windows and bodies lying on the ground, while other worshippers try to help.

Abdul Ghafar Mohammadi, the Kandahar police commander, said the death toll was over 50 with at least 100 wounded, but said he couldn’t be more specific because the toll would rise as health workers recovered more bodies in the aftermath.

World View News understands that eyewitnesses saw three suicide attackers. One reportedly detonated their device at the door of the mosque, while the other two set off theirs inside the building.

There have been several attacks on religious sites after US troops exited the country in August, highlighting the challenge the Taliban faces in maintaining security as Afghanistan’s new rulers.

The Taliban, which took over the country two months ago and is under pressure to protect its citizens from such blasts, condemned the attack as “a big crime” and ordered its fighters to arrest those behind it.

Friday prayers are the busiest congregation of the week, and the building was full of worshippers at the time. At least 15 ambulances were at the scene afterwards.

According to reports, Taliban special forces have secured the site and have asked people to donate blood to help the victims.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack at present. However, IS-K, a local branch of the Islamic State Group, is expected to say it was behind the blasts.