An explosion inside a mosque on the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul killed at least 12 people during Friday prayers as believers gathered for Eid al-Adha during a ceasefire.
The Taliban insurgent group, which announced a three-day cease-fire truce, condemned the attack in a statement and there was no immediate admission of responsibility.
Ferdus Faramarz, a Kabul police spokesman, said the mosque’s imam was among 12 dead and that at least 15 people were injured in a mosque explosion in the capital’s Shakar Dara district.
The blast came less than a week after a school bombing killed 80 people, most of whom were schoolgirls from the ethnic Hazara Shia Muslim minority. The Taliban also condemned the attack and no one claimed responsibility.
US officials believe the attack on the school may have been the work of a rival militant group such as the Islamic State. Such groups did not sign the holiday truce.
Violence, including attacks against civilians, has increased in Afghanistan, despite the United States launching an operation to withdraw all of its remaining troops over the next four months.
So far, there have been no serious reports of direct clashes between government forces and the Taliban during the festive ceasefire that began Thursday at the end of the month of Ramadan. However, roadside bombings continue, with at least 11 civilians killed and 13 injured in four explosions on Thursday.
The government and the Taliban are holding political talks to try to end their conflict, as Washington is withdrawing its troops 20 years after US bombing forced the Taliban to step down from power. Both sides in the talks accused each other of provocation and failure to stop attacks on civilians.
“Today’s attack on a mosque in the Shakar Dara district of Kabul during Friday prayers completely contradicts the idea of Eid al-Fitr as a family holiday celebrated around the world,” the European Union Mission to Afghanistan said on Twitter.
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