JALALABAD: A bomb hidden inside a mosque tore through dozens of worshippers during Friday prayers in eastern Afghanistan, wounding at least 19 including the imam, officials said.
The attack in Chaparhar town in Nangarhar province came just days after a provincial judge was killed and four civilians were wounded in a mosque bombing in southern Uruzgan province.
“The bomb went off close to the imam as he was offering the Friday prayer,” provincial spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai told AFP.
“Nineteen people have been injured, among them the imam who is in a critical condition,” he said, blaming Taliban insurgents for the bombing.
A spokesman for the militants denied responsibility for the attack.
A member of the provincial council, who declined to give his name for security reasons, suggested the imam might have been targeted after agreeing to offer prayers for a man killed by the Taliban for working with US-led Nato forces.
The Taliban, whose hardline regime was overthrown in a US-led invasion in 2001, warned at the start of their annual summer offensive this year that they would target Afghans working for foreign organisations.
Large numbers of local people work for Western civilian and military projects in Afghanistan, where Nato has 130,000 troops helping the Kabul government fight the insurgents.