A Taliban official said that suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque packed with worshipers performing Friday prayer in southern Afghanistan, killing at least 47 people and injuring 70. It was the deadliest day since the US military’s withdrawal.
According to the reports of AP, there was no direct responsibility for the massacre at the Fatimiya mosque in Kandahar province. The attack came a week after a bomb attack by the local ISIS affiliate that killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.
The sectarian bloodletting has raised fears that IS – an enemy of both the Taliban and the West – is expanding its foothold in Afghanistan.
Hafiz Sayeed, the Taliban’s chief for Kandahar’s department of culture and information, said 47 people had been killed and at least 70 wounded in the attack.
Murtaza, who like many Afghans goes by one name, said he was inside the mosque during the attack and reported four explosions: two outside and two inside. He said Friday prayers at the mosque typically draw hundreds of people.
Murtaza, was in charge of security at the mosque and said he saw two bombers. He said one detonated explosives outside the gate, and the other was already among the worshippers inside the mosque.
He said the mosque’s security personnel shot another suspected attacker outside.
Video footage showed bodies scattered across bloodstained carpets, with survivors walking around in a daze or crying out in anguish.
The Islamic State group, which like Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban is made up of Sunni Muslims, views Shiite Muslims as apostates deserving of death.
IS has claimed a number of deadly bombings across the country since the Taliban seized power in August amid the withdrawal of U.S. forces. The group has also targeted Taliban fighters in smaller attacks.