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Taliban Claims It Destroyed Islamic State Cell In Kabul After Deadly Mosque Blast

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A Taliban fighter stands guard as Muslims offer Friday noon prayers at a Kabul mosque on October 1.

The Taliban claims it has destroyed a cell operated by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in a raid conducted just hours after a deadly bombing outside a Kabul mosque.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on his official Twitter account on October 4 that all the cell members were killed in a late-night operation conducted by a special forces unit north of the capital.

There was no official indication that the raid was directly linked to the deadly blast outside the Eidgah Mosque earlier on October 3 in one of the worst attacks since the Taliban takeover.

IS claimed responsibility for the explosion in a message on October 4 by its news agency, Amaq, on Telegram.

The IS group’s local affiliate, the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K) is an enemy of the Taliban.

Since the Taliban took control of most of Afghanistan in August, attacks by IS-K militants against the group in power have increased.

There are differing reports of the casualties that resulted from the October 3 blast, which struck near the entrance of the mosque as mourners left a prayer ceremony dedicated to the death of Mujahid's mother.

Sayed Khosty, who heads the press and public relations department for the caretaker Interior Ministry of the Taliban-led government, told RFE/RL by WhatsApp shortly after the attack that two people were killed and two wounded in the attack.

The German news agency dpa cited Khosty as saying five civilians had been killed and wounded, while the French AFP agency quoted a government cultural commission official as saying that five people died and 11 were wounded.

The local Asvaka news agency reported that as many as 12 people had died, with more than 30 injured.

Khosty told RFE/RL that three people had been arrested in connection with the attack.

Following the blast the area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban, which maintained a heavy security presence.

IS-K militants maintain a strong presence in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar. They have claimed several attacks against Afghanistan’s new rulers, including several killings in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

The October 3 attack in Kabul is the largest to target the capital since late August when a suicide bomber targeted U.S.-led evacuation efforts outside Kabul's international airport. The blast killed 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members.

That attack was claimed by IS-K.

With reporting by dpa, AFP, and Asvaka News.
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