Suicide bomber kills 55 at Shiite mosque in Afghanistan

An suicide bomb attack on worshippers at a Shia mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz killed at least 55 people Friday, in the bloodiest assault since US forces left the country.

Scores more victims from the minority community were wounded in the blast, which has not been claimed but appears designed to further destabilise Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

Matiullah Rohani, director of culture and information in Kunduz for Afghanistan’s new Taliban government, said that the deadly incident was a suicide attack.

A medical source at the Kunduz Provincial Hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 wounded had been taken there, while Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital said 20 were dead and scores more wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier said an unknown number of people had been killed and injured when “an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shiite compatriots” in Kunduz.

The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State Khorasan (Isis-K) group. In a statement released on its Telegram channels, the jihadist group said that a suicide bomber “detonated an explosive vest amid a crowd” of Shiite worshippers who had gathered inside the mosque.

In a second statement, Isis-K said the “perpetrator of the attack was an Uygur Muslim”, a minority that the “Taliban had vowed to expel” from Afghanistan.

The extremist group, bitter rivals of the Taliban, has repeatedly targeted Shiites in a bid to stir up sectarian violence in Sunni majority Afghanistan.

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