Blast at Shiite Mosque in Afghanistan Kills 43Blast at Shiite Mosque in Afghanistan Kills 43

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the Islamic State frequently targets Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan, focusing on the Hazara ethnic minority.


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KABUL, Afghanistan — A blast at a mosque during Friday Prayer killed at least 43 people in northern Afghanistan, according to a Taliban official, the latest reminder of the precarious security situation across the country after the Taliban’s recent takeover.

Witness accounts described a powerful explosion with many casualties. Matullah Rohani, a Taliban official in Kunduz, confirmed the death toll and said more than 140 were injured as well.

There was no immediate claim of responsibly for the attack on the Shiite mosque in Kunduz Province. But it came days after an attack by the Islamic State outside a mosque in Kabul, the capital, which killed several people.

The Islamic State, a Sunni extremist group, has long targeted Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan, focusing almost exclusively on the Hazara ethnic minority, which is heavily Shiite.

The newly installed Taliban government, having overthrown the country’s Western-backed administration in August, is wrestling with a collapsing economy as foreign funding remains largely frozen and with invigorated Islamic State fighters who have conducted guerrilla-style attacks and bombings across parts of the country.

The Islamic State Khorasan Province claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport on Aug. 26, which killed about 170 civilians and 13 U.S. troops.

As Taliban officials shift from leading an insurgency to forming a functioning state, providing security to a population ravaged by more than 40 years of war has been their benchmark. But Islamic State attacks have undercut the Taliban’s promises, leading to swift and violent retribution against the terrorist group.

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