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IS Claims Deadly Shi'ite Mosque Bombing In Northern Afghanistan; Several Dead In Other Attacks


Islamic State claimed responsibility for the April 21 blast at a mosque in Mazar-e Sharif.

A series of explosions killed more than 20 people and wounded dozens more in Afghanistan on April 21.

The deadliest blast occurred at a Shi'ite mosque in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh Province.

There is conflicting information about the number of casualties in the blast.

Eyewitnesses told Radio Azadi that they saw dozens of dead and wounded.

Mohammad Asif Waziri, a spokesman for the Taliban's Balkh police chief, said 10 worshippers were killed and 15 others injured in the explosion, which he said was caused by an improvised explosive device inside the mosque.

"Today, the enemies of Afghanistan have caused a great calamity," Asif Waziri said in a voice message sent to Radio Azadi.

Najibullah Tawana, head of the provincial health department, gave yet a different death toll, saying 12 bodies and 30 injured people had been taken to a hospital. Six of the injured were in critical condition, Tawana said.

A bomb blast in neighboring Kunduz Province also claimed victims.

Obaidullah Abedi, a spokesman for the chief of Kunduz's Taliban police, told Radio Azadi that a roadside bomb hit a vehicle carrying technical personnel from a Taliban military corps. He said four people were killed and 19 people, including three schoolchildren, were injured.

In the capital, Kabul, two children were injured in another blast, according to officials.

A Taliban spokesman in Kabul, Khalid Zadaran, told Radio Azadi that a bomb exploded on April 21 in the Charahi Qambar area of Kabul's fifth district, injuring the two children.

Reports from eastern Nangarhar indicated that a Taliban vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the Khogyani district of the province. According to some sources, four Taliban militants were killed and one was injured. Taliban officials in Nangarhar have not officially commented on the incident.

Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) claimed responsibility for a bomb blast at the mosque in Mazar-e Sharif, but no group has claimed responsibility for the other explosions. Five months ago, IS-K also claimed responsibility for bombings at Shi'ite mosques in Kunduz and Kandahar.

Meanwhile, Afghans are concerned about the current situation.

They had believed the Taliban would bring peace and end insecurity, but now they are frightened.

"With the return of the Taliban, we expected relative security in the country, but what we expected has turned out to be the opposite, with explosions in various provinces, including Kabul, and invasions of neighboring countries that have turned our optimism into pessimism," Mohammad Rasoul, a Kabul resident, told Radio Azadi.

Khan Mohammad, a resident of Nangarhar, said the situation "is so scary that we even go to the mosque to pray thinking that something might happen, so we stand in the corner of the mosque thinking that this place might be safer for us if something happens."

The Taliban-led government has forgotten Afghanistan's priorities and is preoccupied with unnecessary problems, he said.

The bombings on April 21 follow two bombings at Abdul Rahim Shaheed High School in Kabul's Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood that killed at least nine people and injured more than a dozen others on April 20.

Richard Bennett, the United Nation's Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan on human rights, condemned the blasts.

"Today more explosions rocked Afghanistan...systematic targeted attacks on crowded schools and mosques calls for immediate investigation, accountability and end to human rights violations," he said in a tweet.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, and Tolo News
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