10 killed including prominent cleric in bomb blasts in Kabul mosque

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Islamabad – At least 10 people, including a prominent cleric, were killed in a bomb blast at a mosque during evening prayers in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which is the latest to strike the country since that year. Taliban seized power.

Local ally of the Islamic State group has intensified attacks targeting the Taliban and civilians since the takeover of former rebels last August as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal from the country. Last week, IS claimed responsibility for the killing of a prominent Taliban cleric at its religious center in Kabul.

According to eyewitnesses, a suicide bomber carried out the blast where Siddiqiya Masjid, a resident of Kher Khanna locality of the city, was targeted. The slain cleric was Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli, the eyewitness said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He said more than 30 people were injured. The Italian emergency hospital in Kabul said at least 27 wounded civilians, including five children, had been brought there from the bombing site.

Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, confirmed the explosion inside a mosque in northern Kabul, but did not give casualties or the breakdown of the dead and wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also condemned the blast and vowed that “the perpetrators of such crimes will soon be brought to justice and punished.”

A US-led invasion toppled the previous Taliban government, which had hosted al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Since coming to power, the former rebels have faced a severe economic crisis, as the international community, which does not recognize the Taliban government, has withheld funding for the country.

Separately, the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they captured and killed a Mehdi Mujahid in western Herat province as he was trying to cross the border into Iran.

Mujahid was a former Taliban commander in the Balkhab district of northern Sar-e-Pul province, and the only member of the minority Shia Hazara community in Taliban ranks.

The Mujahid had turned against the Taliban over the past year, after opposing decisions made by Taliban leaders in Kabul.

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