Published On: Sat, Oct 16th, 2021

35 killed as suicide bombers target Shias in Taliban’s stronghold of Kandahar

ISLAMABAD: At least 35 worshippers were killed and more than 70 others injured after three suicide bombers detonated their explosives inside a mosque during the weekly Friday congregation prayers in the neighbourhood of the minority Shia community in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
The incident took place a week after dozens of people were killed in a bloody attack on a Shia mosque during the congregation prayers in the northern province of Kunduz. The previous attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), a regional affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Local residents said that three blasts took place, one after another, at Bibi Fatima mosque in the heart of the Kandahar city.
Two similar terrorist attacks on a minority community within seven days during the busiest congregation prayers of the week indicate that the security threat from the terror outfits in the war-battered country poses the biggest challenge for the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
By sending three suicide bombers against a non-strategic, non-combatant target in Kandahar, Afghan analyst Abdul Haq Omari said, all regional powers should worry about the depths and confidence of the terrorist group in its recruitment effort. These attacks also busted the myth of the Taliban security card played by the group by claiming that they were the only ones who could ensure security to the country. The attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second biggest city with a population of six million and considered to be a Taliban stronghold and the spiritual birthplace of the group’s movement, seemed to have sent the message that no place is safe in the war-torn country.
Taking to Twitter, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the attack and wrote: “The Islamic Emirate condemns the barbaric attack on civilians in a mosque in Kandahar. We have directed the security forces to find the perpetrators of such grave crimes as soon as possible and bring them to justice.” He extended his government’s deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
Interior ministry spokesman Syed Khosti said the explosion took place in the mosque of the Shia brotherhood in the police district one (PD-1) of Kandahar city.
“Special forces of the Islamic Emirate have arrived in the area to determine the nature of the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Khosti added. He appealed to the people to donate blood to help the victims.
Videos and photographs posted on social media showed dozens of dead bodies lying on blood-soaked prayer mats inside the mosque’s prayer hall while volunteers were trying to rescue the injured.
While no group has accepted responsibility for the latest attack, it bore the fingerprints of the ISKP, which has so far targeted Afghan security forces, politicians and former top government officials, the Taliban, religious minorities including Shia Muslims and Sikhs, US and Nato forces, and international agencies, including aid organisations.
The ISKP is a Sunni Muslim group and has been considered as the most extreme and violent of all the terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan.

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