A bomb blast on worshippers at a Shia mosque in the Afghan city of Kunduz has killed at least 50 people leaving several injured on Friday. 

Most of the victims belonged to the minority community which has not been claimed but appears designed to further destabilise Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban regime.

A medical source at the Kunduz Provincial Hospital said that 35 dead and more than 50 wounded had been taken there, while a worker at a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital reported 15 dead and scores more wounded.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid had earlier said that an unknown number of people had been killed and injured when “an explosion took place in a mosque of our Shia compatriots” in Kunduz.

Zalmai Alokzai, a local businessman who rushed to Kunduz Provincial Hospital to check whether doctors needed blood donations, described the horrific scenes saying Ambulances were going back to the incident scene to carry the dead. 

An international aid worker reported that there were fears the death toll could rise. 

The worker said, “Hundreds of people are gathered at the main gate of the hospital and crying for their relatives but armed Taliban guys are trying to prevent gatherings in case another explosion is planned.”

The horrific scenes

Aminullah, an eyewitness whose brother was at the mosque, said, “After I heard the explosion, I called my brother but he did not pick up. I walked towards the mosque and found my brother wounded and faint. We immediately took him to the MSF hospital.”

A female teacher in Kunduz told AFP the blast happened near her house, and several of her neighbours were killed.

“It was a very terrifying incident,” she said. “Many of our neighbours have been killed and wounded. A 16-year-old neighbour was killed. They couldn’t find half of his body. Another neighbour who was 24 was killed as well.”

It was the scene of fierce battles as the Taliban fought their way back into power this year.

Kunduz’s location makes it a key transit point for economic and trade exchanges with Tajikistan.

The Minorities

Shias make up roughly 20 per cent of the Afghan population. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.

In October 2017, a lone IS suicide attacker struck a Shia mosque as worshippers gathered for evening prayers in the west of Kabul, killing 56 people and wounding 55 including women and children.

And in May this year, a series of bombings outside a school in the capital killed at least 85 people — mostly young girls. More than 300 were wounded in this attack on the Hazara community.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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