Taliban Says at Least Five Civilians Killed in Kabul Mosque Bombing

Taliban fighters walk at the entrance of the Eidgah Mosque after an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. A bomb exploded in the entrance of the mosque in the Afghan capital on Sunday leaving a "number of civilians dead," a Taliban spokesman said. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
AP Photo/Felipe Dana

A spokesman for the Taliban’s interior ministry said at least five civilians were killed by a bomb at the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Sunday. At least four people were also wounded in the bombing, which apparently targeted a funeral service held at the mosque for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

“We received four patients, three of them had shrapnel injuries while one had a bullet wound,” Marco Puntin, the director of an Italian-funded emergency hospital in Kabul, told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

Puntil said he heard gunfire after the bomb exploded. A local shopkeeper also heard both the explosion from Eid Gah and gunshots afterward. The shopkeeper added that Taliban fighters had blocked the road to the mosque shortly before the explosion, for reasons not made clear.

“The blast was so strong that it threw everything around in my shop. People fled this way, it was chaos,” a Kabul mechanic told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The Associated Press (AP) quoted Taliban sources who said the attack was perpetrated with a roadside bomb outside the gate of the mosque. 

The Taliban interior ministry said five civilians were killed but no Taliban fighters were injured, while another Taliban spokesman claimed three suspects have already been arrested in the bombing.

Reuters quoted a “Taliban soldier” who said he saw two people killed immediately by the explosion and eight wounded. He reported seeing two bombers at the scene, one of them killed in the blast and the other caught while trying to escape.

“Taliban commanders were seen giving blood at a hospital treating the wounded but media access was tightly controlled,” Reuters reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but suspicion fell naturally upon the Islamic State, whose Afghanistan operation is usually referred to as ISIS-K. 

Al Jazeera noted Sunday’s mosque bombing was the first to strike Kabul since the August 26 suicide bombings at the chaotic Hamid Karzai International Airport, which killed 13 U.S. servicemembers and 169 Afghans. 

ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the airport attack, and has also claimed a string of bombings in the eastern city of Jalalabad that killed and injured dozens of Taliban fighters.

Al Jazeera suggested Sunday’s mosque bombing could put a “big dent in the Taliban’s claim that the country is seeing unprecedented peace and security.”

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