By Ehsan Popalzai and Mostafa Salem, CNN
Updated: Fri, 15 Oct 2021 23:30:46 GMT
A suicide attack at the largest Shia mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar killed 32 people and injured at least 68 more, the government-owned Bakhtar News Agency said Friday.
It is the second week running that an attack has targeted Friday prayers at a Shia mosque. The majority of Afghans practice Sunni Islam.
"Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan officials in Kandahar have said, 32 people lost their lives and more than 68 others were wounded after three back-to-back explosions occurred inside Imam Bargah mosque (Shia) in first Police District of Kandahar city this afternoon," Bakhtar News Agency said on Twitter.
The terror group ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement released by the group's media wing, Amaq.
The Amaq statement claimed that two "Islamic State fighters," Anas al-Khrasani and Abu Ali Al-Blushi, entered through the security gate of the mosque after killing the guards and blew themselves up amongst the worshippers.
CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of these claims.
ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for an October 8 suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 46 people, as well as for another attack several days earlier on a mosque in central Kabul.
"Terrorism continues in Afghanistan with at least 30 killed, scores injured, in suicide attack at Kandahar's largest Shia mosque," the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said of Friday's attack.
The UN "condemns (the) latest atrocity targeting a religious institution & worshippers. Those responsible need to be held to account," the mission added on Twitter.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid also condemned the incident in a statement, and said the perpetrators would be "brought to justice."
ISIS-K has launched a series of attacks since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan two months ago. Others include a suicide attack at Kabul's airport in August and a spate of bombings targeting members of the Taliban in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.