A bomb which targeted the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday has left a ‘number of civilians dead’, according to a Taliban spokesman.
The bomb targeted the Eidgah mosque where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahi and represents the first major attack of its kind in Afghanistan since the departure of US forces.
The Taliban say five people have been killed and 10 injured, but medical sources say the death toll stands at 10 with over 30 injured according to Al-Jazeera.
Taliban fighters were not harmed in the attack according to spokesman Bilal Karimi, who stated the casualties were civilians standing outside the mosque.
Responsibility for the attack was claimed by IS-K, the Islamic State affiliate in Khorasan Province.
Attacks against the Taliban by IS militants have increased since the Taliban swept to power in mid-August.
IS militants were also responsible for the August suicide bombing at the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul which killed 169 Afghans and 13 US service members.
The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.
Taliban fighters walk at the entrance of the Eidgah Mosque after the bombing, which cause little damage to the mosque but killed several civilians. Damage to the mosque gates and archway can be seen above
Taliban fighters were not harmed in the attack according to spokesman Bilal Karimi, who stated the casualties were civilians standing outside the mosque. Taliban guards are now stationed outside the mosque and emergency rooms
The bomb targeted the Eidgah mosque where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid
The area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban who maintained a heavy security presence following the attack
Emergency NGO, an Italian-funded hospital in Kabul, tweeted it had received four people wounded in the blast.
The area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban who maintained a heavy security presence, posting armed guards around the mosque and emergency rooms accepting patients, and dispatching vehicles with machine guns to sweep the area.
IS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy.
It has claimed several attacks against them, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.
The Taliban dispatched trucks with machine guns to reinforce security around the mosque and emergency rooms
Armed Taliban guards are now posted outside emergency rooms accepting patients who were injured in the blast
People wait in front of a hospital where wounded civilians have been dispatched after the explosion. The latest reports indicate up to 10 people were killed and over 30 injured
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 after an IS roadside bomb wounded four Taliban fighters in the area.
The attack on the mosque comes on the same day that Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally near Kabul since taking power in Afghanistan.
The blast comes as a sign that the Taliban victory has not brought an end to violence after Afghanistan’s 20-year conflict.
A large crowd of Taliban supporters attended a rally in a vast field to the north of Kabul on Sunday, just hours before a blast killed several civilians at a Kabul mosque
The bombing, which could be heard across the centre of the capital, came shortly after the new Taliban ‘interim government’ staged a large rally in the hilly outskirts of Kabul, attended by 1,500 men and boys.
‘This is the day we waited for,’ said Khalil Haqqani, the new minister for refugees who in 2011 was labelled a terrorist by the United States with a $5 million bounty on his head, in reference to the rally.
He is a prominent leader of the Haqqani militant network founded by his brother Jalaluddin.
‘We have achieved our goal, but it requires protection,’ he told the gathering, with his rifle leaning against the lectern, boasting that the country has a ‘bright future’ despite being shunned by international donors.
Source: Daily Mail UK