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At least 2 killed in blast targeting Kabul mosque, Taliban officials say

3 civilians wounded in explosion outside Eid Gah Mosque, during memorial service for mother of insurgent group’s spokesperson

Afghan medical staff members stand at the entrance of a hospital as they wait to receive the victims of an explosion in Kabul on October 3, 2021. (Hoshang HASHIMI / AFP)
Afghan medical staff members stand at the entrance of a hospital as they wait to receive the victims of an explosion in Kabul on October 3, 2021. (Hoshang HASHIMI / AFP)

KABUL, Afghanistan — A bomb exploded at the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital on Sunday leaving at least two people dead, senior Taliban officials said.

The blast struck near the entrance of the large Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter, adding that “a number of civilians” died.

A spokesman from the interior ministry, Qari Sayed Khosti, told AFP: “Our initial information shows two civilians were killed and three wounded in the blast.”

A prayer ceremony for Mujahid’s mother, who died last week, was being held at the mosque on Sunday afternoon, the spokesman had written on social media on Saturday, adding “all people and friends are invited to attend.”

Ahmadullah, a shopkeeper nearby, told AFP: “I heard the sound of an explosion near the Eid Gah Mosque followed by guns firing.

“Just ahead of the blast the Taliban had blocked the road to hold a prayer ceremony for Zabihullah Mujahid’s mother in the Eid Gah Mosque.”

AFP journalists in two locations in the capital also heard the blast and shooting.

Ambulances carrying the wounded were seen rushing toward Kabul’s Emergency Hospital in the Shahr-e Naw area.

The hospital said on Twitter that four patients were being treated.

Medical staff waited outside, AFP journalists saw, as people arrived in blood-stained clothes.

Commuters walk past Taliban fighters outside the Kabul Governor Building in Kabul on October 3, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar / AFP)

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by Islamic State group jihadists against them have increased. The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.

IS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy. IS has claimed several attacks against the Taliban, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.

Attacks in Kabul have so far been rare, but in recent weeks IS has shown signs it is expanding its footprint beyond the east and closer toward the capital.

On Friday, Taliban fighters raided an IS hideout just north of Kabul in Parwan province. The raid came after an IS roadside bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.

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