At least 11 killed in Afghanistan mosque explosion

At least 11 killed and more than 30 others wounded in blast during memorial for former deputy governor of Badakhshan.

Afghanistan Badakhshan blast
People run away after a bomb explosion during funeral prayers at the Nabawi Mosque in the Hesa-e-Awal area of Faizabad district, Badakhshan province, Afghanistan [Omer/AFP]

An explosion near a mosque in northern Afghanistan killed at least 11 people at a memorial service for the Taliban’s provincial deputy governor, who died in an attack earlier this week, officials said.

A former Taliban police official was among those killed and more than 30 others were wounded in the explosion near Nabawi Mosque on Thursday, according to Abdul Nafi Takor, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the interior ministry.

Takor said there were concerns that the number of casualties could rise further.

The explosion happened during the memorial service for Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the deputy governor of Badakhshan who was killed in a car bombing on Tuesday. That attack in Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan, also killed the deputy governor’s driver and wounded 10 other people.

Afghanistan blast
A Taliban security officer stands guard after a bomb explosion during funeral prayers at the Nabawi Mosque in the Hesa-e-Awal area of Faizabad district, in Badakhshan province [OmerAbrar/AFP]

Moazuddin Ahmadi, the Taliban official in charge of information and culture, said Safiullah Samim, a former Taliban police chief in Baghlan, was killed in Thursday’s blast.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying in a tweet that the bombing of mosques is an act of “terrorism” and goes “against human and Islamic standards”.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The ISIL (ISIS) armed group claimed responsibility for the car bombing on Tuesday.

The Taliban administration has been carrying out raids against members of ISIL, which has claimed several major attacks in urban centres.

The group has targeted Taliban administration officials and claimed the killing of the governor of northern Balkh province in an attack in March.

Hundreds attend funeral

Several senior Taliban officials attended Ahmadi’s funeral, which took place on Wednesday, along with hundreds of residents of Faizabad.

The Taliban military chief, Fasihuddin Fitrat, denounced the attacks in Badakhshan and asked people to cooperate with Taliban security forces and report suspicious activities in their areas.

In December, a car bombing killed Badakhshan’s provincial police chief as he was on his way to work.

The ISIL regional affiliate – known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province – said at the time that it had carried out that attack. The group said it had parked an explosive-laden car on the road and detonated it when the police chief was close by.

Source: News Agencies