KABUL: A blast that ripped through a mosque packed with worshippers in the Afghan capital killed at least 21 people and wounded more than two dozen others, police said on Thursday.

The number of bombings across Afghanistan has declined since the Taliban returned to power last year, but several attacks — some targeting minority communities — have rocked the country in recent months, including those claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday evening’s blast at Kabul’s Sediqia Mosque, which has an adjoining madresah.

“He was my cousin, may God forgive him,” said one local resident who gave his name as Masiullah, referring to a relative who died in the explosion. “One year had passed from his marriage, he was 27 years old... he was a good person.”

Kabul police spokesman Khalid Zadran said 21 people were killed and 33 others wounded.

Italian non-governmental organisation Emergency, which operates a hospital in Kabul, said it had received 35 patients, including three who died.

“Most of the injuries were caused by shrapnel and burns. Our surgeons were operating throughout the night. There were nine children among the victims that we received,” country director Stefano Sozza said in a statement on Thursday.

Local hospitals contacted by AFP said they were not permitted to provide details of casualties they had treated.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Thursday said security was “deteriorating” in the country. “We deplore yesterday’s attack in a Kabul mosque, the latest in a disturbing series of bombings which have killed & injured more than 250 people in recent weeks, the highest monthly number of civilian casualties over the last year,” said a statement released on Twitter.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022

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