By France 24 with AFP and AP
AN EXPLOSION outside a mosque in the Afghan capital killed “a number of civilians” on Sunday, a senior Taliban official said.
The bomb targeted the sprawling Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul, where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who later tweeted the attack had claimed civilian lives.
Emergency NGO, an Italian-funded hospital in Kabul, tweeted it had received four people wounded in the blast.
Sunday’s bombing was the second major attack in the Afghan capital since the Taliban takeover. An August 26 attack on the Kabul airport, which killed 182 people, was claimed by the IS-K, the Islamic State group’s Khorasan branch.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.
The bombing at an iconic Kabul mosque raised questions over whether the Taliban can maintain security amid rising threats from the IS-K group.
Under the terms of the US withdrawal deal, the Taliban promised to maintain security in Afghanistan and ensure the country did not turn into a haven for jihadist groups.
Witnesses say gunshots heard after blast
The area around the Eid Gah mosque was immediately cordoned off. Ambulances carrying the wounded were seen rushing towards Kabul’s Emergency Hospital in the Shahr-e Naw area.
Ahmadullah, a shopkeeper who was near the mosque at the time of the attack, told AFP he heard “the sound of an explosion near the Eid Gah Mosque followed by gun firing”.
“Just ahead of the blast the Taliban had blocked the road to hold a prayer ceremony for Zabihullah Mujahid’s mother in Eid Gah Mosque.”
AFP journalists in two locations in the capital also heard the blast and shooting.
A Taliban fighter stands guard as Afghan medical staff members wait at the entrance of a hospital to receive the victims of an explosion in Kabul today, October 3, 2021. Photo: © Hoshang Hashimi/ AFP and published by France 24