Relatives of victims cry at a local hospital after a bomb blast in Afghanistan’s Faryab province, October 26, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

KABUL: A suicide bomber slaughtered more than 40 people, including five children, when he struck at a mosque in northern Afghanistan after Eid al-Adha prayers on Friday, officials said.

It was the worst death toll in a single attack in Afghanistan since 80 died on December 6 last year in a suicide blast at a shrine in Kabul on the Shia holy day of Ashura.

At least 50 others were wounded as the bomb – reportedly stuffed with ball-bearings – ripped through the crowd of worshippers in Maymana city in Faryab province.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings are a favourite weapon of Taliban Islamists trying to topple the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

The attacker was wearing a police uniform when he blew himself up at the entrance to the city’s packed Eid Gah mosque, deputy provincial governor Abdul Satar Barez told AFP.

“We have 42 dead – more than 20 are security forces and the rest of them are civilians, including five or six children,” he said. “Around 51 are wounded, some 15 of them critically injured.”

A member of parliament for Faryab, Naqeebullah Fayeq, who was present during the attack put the death toll at 47.

Barez, like many other provincial officials, was also at the scene at the time of the bombing and described the horror of the blast in the midst of a religious celebration.

“We had just finished Eid al-Adha prayers and we were congratulating and hugging each other,” Barez said.

“Suddenly a big explosion took place and the area was full of dust and smoke and body parts of police and civilians were all over the place. It was a very powerful explosion.”

One eyewitness, Sayed Moqeed, described the bomber as appearing to be in his early teens.

“Suddenly I heard a very big explosion,” he said. “Everywhere were pieces of bodies, hands and limbs. The suicide attacker was in police uniform, he looked to be around 14 or 15 years old.”

The four-day Eid al-Adha holiday is a celebration in which Muslims slaughter animals for feasts and distribute a portion of the meat among the poor, and the first day draws large crowds to mosques around the Islamic world.

Karzai strongly condemned the attack, calling the perpetrators “the enemies of Islam and humanity”.

“Those who take the happiness of Muslims during Eid days cannot be called human and Muslim,” he said.

The United States embassy said the “attack against innocent worshippers further demonstrates the insurgency’s lack of respect for religion, faith and its disregard for the safety and security of the Afghan people”.

The commander of Nato’S International Security Assistance Force, General John Allen, condemned “this heinous act” and offered ISAF’s resources to “help however we can”.

Northern Afghanistan is relatively peaceful, with the Taliban, who were ousted from power in a US-led invasion in 2001, concentrating their operations in the south and east of the country.

But they have recently stepped up their activities in the north, despite the presence of more than 100,000 Nato troops in the country.

Last week, a huge roadside bomb ripped through a minibus carrying guests to a wedding party in the northern province of Balkh, near Faryab, killing 19 people and wounding 16 others.

The United Nations says 1,145 civilians were killed in the war in the first six months of this year, blaming 80 per cent of the deaths on insurgents.

Last year as a whole, a record 3,021 civilians died in the war, according to UN figures.

But Afghan police and government officials have increasingly become targets as local forces take on more responsibility for the fight against the insurgents as Nato prepares to pull out.

The foreign combat troops are due to withdraw by the end of 2014 and there are fears that the Taliban will extend their activities across wider swathes of the country against ill-prepared Afghan forces.

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Comments (49)

October 26, 2012 8:10 am
Can anyone explain me why anyone would want to kill themselves and same time kill many inocent people?
October 26, 2012 10:52 am
I thought it was 72. And it is 72 times each person killed.. I think one would need so many virgins to take one though the 'eternal life'.
Goga Nalaik
October 26, 2012 7:43 am
Islam, a religion of peace and these horrible monsters. What are we waiting for to go after them in North Waziristan ???
Muhammad Ibrahim Khan
October 26, 2012 7:54 am
This act is inhumane which is condemnable.
gir na
October 26, 2012 7:47 am
It's a common thing in the Middle East.
October 26, 2012 12:46 pm
Too many conflicting 'hidayats'.
From Indian
October 26, 2012 1:53 pm
Whatever Islam Muhammad preached, was for the situations prevalent 1400 years back. Only a tolerant Sufi Islam is the need of today.
October 26, 2012 12:41 pm
I don't think politicians have to explain anything at all?
October 26, 2012 12:25 pm
"And We have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind" (Qur'an Al-Anbiyah 21:107)
October 26, 2012 11:46 am
It was illegal for police to enter mosque to enforce law and order but it is perfectly valid for sucide bomber to enter mosque and kill people? Double standards of religion.
Sandeep Singh
October 26, 2012 11:33 am
Sufism is only True islam affected by Hinduism Vedanta ;-)
October 26, 2012 12:33 pm
Islamic world not the other worlds? I am yet to see Hindu,Christian,Buddhist or Jewish worshipers blow themselves up??
October 26, 2012 9:05 am
Which is the true Islam that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) preached? A)Sufi Islam B)sunni Islam C)wahabi Islam D)Deobandi Islam E)Shia Islam D)Ahmedia Islam Are we following the true Islam preached by our prophet?
Munir Ahmad
October 26, 2012 1:15 pm
Good Taliban?
October 26, 2012 1:19 pm
Waiting for the government to act decisively. And waiting ... And waiting ...
From Indian
October 26, 2012 1:56 pm
Dear Goga, Only going after them won't solve it. Ask yourself first what you think about minority rights in pakistan? whats your views on Ahmadi and Shiyas and Hindus and Christian faiths? What is your views on Women liberty? You may surprise yourself....
October 26, 2012 2:01 pm
Who will go to heaven now? Those who were killed by the suicide bomber or the suicide bomber who killed the innocent victims who were praying? has anyone come back from dead and reported that heaven is for people following a particular religion and hell is for those following another religion. If that was so where were people going on being dead 2000 years ago or before that when most religions were not discovered or invented?
October 26, 2012 2:03 pm
the problem is in teaching, islam, hinduism, christanity, buddhism all teaches compassion and peace, but only wrong teaching of islam is getting these guys mad
October 26, 2012 10:06 am
My dear Muhammad, i think, none.
October 27, 2012 7:56 pm
well anybody who kills an innocent is an assassin and anybody who belongs and follows a certain religious group becomes a worshipper. Godse was a furious Hindu nationalist and a devout hindu who killed Mahatma because he thought he was too soft on muslims therefore i hardly see any difference between his and taliban's basic ideology as for Rajaratnam aka Gayatri was a tamil activist and an alleged victim of rape by Indian peace keepers and therefore decided to blow herself up. behind every tragedy there is a certain story who is to say who is the worshipper and who an assassin
Roney Indian
October 27, 2012 7:48 pm
why isnt muslim world protesting against these fellow muslims killing their own people ??? you only protest when NATO does their job in eliminating these fanatics .... shame on those who hate NATO and US.
Goga Nalaik
October 26, 2012 2:53 pm
Government says it is ready But obstacles are being created by the opposition parties mpln, pti, iji ...etc. These parties say that if we go against the Taliban in north Waziristan, then elecltions will not be held on time ... Can you belive it !!! They dont seem concerned about a common man's life. Instead, they want to come into power and enjoy (as it has been the case with this country in the past). What a shame
October 26, 2012 3:02 pm
How about just practicing humanity?. who cares about following religion? How about just being human and have empathy for those murdered and their families who now must find the strength to somehow carry on... What sux the most is that these same loved ones will find solace in the same order of religious practice that was used as an excuse to blow up their loved one....cuz they simply don't know any better!
October 26, 2012 3:07 pm
Muslims killing muslims. More muslims kill each other than american drones do. So please be quite about drones
Goga Nalaik
October 26, 2012 10:11 am
Response to your last question : no, we are not!
October 26, 2012 9:40 pm
The Muslim nation is cursed. Instead of celebrating Eid, they kill each other. The suicide bomber is enjoying Eid in Heaven or so he thought.
October 26, 2012 11:56 am
please stop killing common man in world
October 27, 2012 4:31 am
you must be kidding me "remember Mr Rajiv Gandhi or for that matter the end of Mahatma Gandhi" but may be a gun shot or a women presenting flowers blowing herself up represents love instead of hatred. Learn your history dude and a good start would be Indian History
Anwar Amjad
October 27, 2012 5:01 am
Suicidal attacks as weapon of terror was invented by the Hindus – Tamil Tigers!
October 27, 2012 8:42 am
you must be joking right? Taliban, Al Quida, and Pakistan - they are interlinked my friend. Ask anyone in the world and you will get the answer.
October 27, 2012 8:45 am
you are wrong Rohit - the Tamil Tigers were Hindus, and they taught the World how to be suicide bombers - only thing is Taliban finessed their arts on a mass scale.
October 27, 2012 2:10 am
I can remember the protests on the streets of pakistan by some fanatics after the killing of osama bin one should ask them what are their views after this and malala incident.
October 27, 2012 2:25 am
Slap on pro taliban people.
October 27, 2012 4:25 am
understand the context and you might understand the hidayat
October 27, 2012 9:09 am
The keyword in my post "worshipers" and you are speaking of assassins?
October 26, 2012 10:03 am
What more one can do in love of God by slaughtering humans on Eid-e-Qurban?
October 26, 2012 10:09 am
My dear Muhammad ibrahim khan. I feel sad for innocent Afghans killed and wounded. But the major problem is how to prevent similar bloodshed in future?
Sulaiman Fatmi
October 26, 2012 5:44 pm
this will keep happening till the us army is in afg
muzammil ullah khan
October 26, 2012 4:49 pm
This is the islam of taliban. Those who back them should think again whether they would like to emulate this kind of barbarity and disrespect to their religion.
muzammil ullah khan
October 26, 2012 4:51 pm
There is just one islam . A peaceful and benevolent ISLAM . Most other kind are suspect.
muzammil ullah khan
October 26, 2012 4:54 pm
buddy , one does not argue with insane people. Talking to these guys is a sheer waste ot time. The answer is to break the back of this movement which keeps killing innocent people by the thousands and once that is done then you may talk to them.
October 26, 2012 10:29 am
Can Imran Khan please explain as to how this can be classified as Jihad?
Sayyed Bukharee
October 26, 2012 1:50 pm
It is a folly to call them Muslims. Islam does not preach killing innocent people. These are terrorists and their religion is Terrorism. Please don't call them Muslims, you are hurting our feelings.
October 26, 2012 12:02 pm
World filled inside and outside with hatred.
October 26, 2012 12:17 pm
Is Taliban and Alqida bringing good name to Islam and Pakistan around the globe?I feel they are bring the name of Pakistan and Islam to shame.
October 26, 2012 8:59 am
Why Why ???? A suicide bomber brainwashed with a promise of 70 Virgins in Janna kills the innocents praying in the Mosque to God seeking salvation, forgiveness and a place in the Heavens.
October 26, 2012 11:02 am
Being a Muslim it is our utmost duty to find out the root cause. And the only way is to engage these in direct talks otherwise engaging them in constant war would leave us nowhere.
gir na
October 26, 2012 10:55 am
Sorry..It is 72.
Sayyed Bukharee
October 26, 2012 1:51 pm
They are NOT Muslims they are terrorists and that is their faith and religion.
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