Bomb attack on Kabul mosque leaves ‘number of civilians dead’: Memorial service for mother of Taliban’s chief spokesman ‘is targeted by ISIS militants’
- A bomb targeting a mosque in Kabul has killed several civilians according to a Taliban spokesman
- The bomb reportedly hit a mosque where a memorial service was being held for Taliban member Zabihullah Mujahid
- No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, but attacks against the Taliban in Afghanistan by Islamic State militants have become more frequent
- More to follow
A bomb which targeted the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday has left a ‘number of civilians dead’, according to a Taliban spokesman.
The bomb targeted the Eidgah mosque where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, but attacks in Afghanistan against the Taliban by Islamic State (IS) militants have increased since the Taliban swept to power in mid-August.
IS militants were also responsible for the August suicide bombing at the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul which killed over 100 civilians and several US military personnel.
The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.
Emergency NGO, an Italian-funded hospital in Kabul, tweeted it had received four people wounded in the blast.
The area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban who maintained a heavy security presence.
IS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy.
It has claimed several attacks against them, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.
Attacks in Kabul have so far been rare, but in recent weeks IS has shown signs it is expanding its footprint beyond the east and closer toward the capital.
On Friday, Taliban fighters raided an IS hideout just north of Kabul in Parwan province after an IS roadside bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.
The attack on the mosque comes on the same day that Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally near Kabul since taking power in Afghanistan.
The blast comes as a sign that the Taliban victory has not brought an end to violence after Afghanistan’s 20-year conflict.
The blast, which could be heard across the centre of the capital, came shortly after the new Taliban ‘interim government’ staged a large rally in the hilly outskirts of Kabul, attended by 1,500 men and boys.
‘This is the day we waited for,’ said Khalil Haqqani, the new minister for refugees who in 2011 was labelled a terrorist by the United States with a $5 million bounty on his head, in reference to the rally.
He is a prominent leader of the Haqqani militant network founded by his brother Jalaluddin.
‘We have achieved our goal, but it requires protection,’ he told the gathering, with his rifle leaning against the lectern, boasting that the country has a ‘bright future’ despite being shunned by international donors.