মানুষ Reuters People carry a prey after a large explosion at a Shia mosque in Kandahar, Afghanistan, October 15, 2021. Reuters via TV
KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban authorities have vowed to tighten security at Shia mosques as hundreds of people gathered on Saturday to bury the victims of a second Islamic State suicide attack on worshipers in a week.
The hardline Sunni Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on the Fatima Mosque in Kandahar, where a group of suicide bombers were seen shooting at worshipers before blowing themselves up during Friday prayers.
A health official said the death toll could rise to 41 and 70 injured. “The condition of some of the injured is critical and we are trying to relocate them to Kabul,” he said.
On Saturday, huge crowds gathered for the burial of white-shroud victims at a mass grave in the southern city of Kandahar.
The Kandahar police chief said units would be deployed to protect Shia mosques, which so far have been guarded by local volunteer forces with special permission to carry weapons.
“Unfortunately they could not protect the area and in the future we will appoint special security guards to protect mosques and madrassas,” he said in a statement posted on the Taliban spokesman’s Twitter account (NYSE :).
The attack on the Fatima Mosque, the largest Shiite mosque in Kandahar, also known as the Imam Bargah Mosque, came a week after a similar attack on a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz, killing at least 40 people.
The attacks on Shia mosques and the largest Shia group in Afghanistan associated with the Hazara ethnic minority have been the target of regular incidents under the former Western-backed government.
After decades of war, the Taliban’s seizure of power in August has tarnished the image of the peace movement in Afghanistan.
Since the occupation, Islamic State has conducted dozens of operations, ranging from small-scale attacks on Taliban targets to Friday’s suicide bombings, to large-scale operations to kill scores of civilians.
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