The militant Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack on Shia mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar that killed at least 63 people and injured more than 70.
Friday’s attack came just a week after an IS-claimed attack on Shia worshippers at a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz killed more than 60 people.
According to reports IS also called Daesh has claimed responsibility for the Frida’s attack on a Shia’s mosque in Afghanistan.
In a statement released on its Telegram channels, Taliban said two Islamic State suicide bombers carried out separate attacks on different parts of the mosque in Kandahar which is considered the spiritual heartland of the Taliban while worshippers prayed inside.
The sectarian bloodletting has raised fears that Daesh, an enemy of both the Taliban and the West, is strengthening its foothold in Afghanistan.
Hafiz Sayeed, the Taliban’s chief for Kandahar’s department of culture and information, said 47 people had been killed and at least 70 wounded in the attack.
Murtaza, a witness of the attack, said he was inside the mosque during the attack and reported four explosions, two outside and two inside. He said that Friday prayers at the mosque typically draw hundreds of people.
Another witness also named Murtaza, was in charge of security at the mosque and said he saw two suicide bombers. He said one detonated explosives outside the gate, and the other was already among the worshippers inside the mosque.
He added that the mosque’s security personnel shot another suspected attacker outside.
Video footage showed mutilated bodies scattered across bloodstained carpets, with survivors walking around in a daze or crying out in anguish and horror.
Daesh has claimed a number of deadly bombings across the country since the Taliban seized power in August amid the withdrawal of US forces. The group has also targeted Taliban fighters in smaller attacks.
The attack is the first major assault by the extremist group in southern Afghanistan since the US departure enabled the Taliban to consolidate control of the country. Recent attacks in the north, the east and the Afghan capital have casted doubts on the Taliban’s potential to counter the threat posed by Daesh.
The Taliban has pledged to restore peace and security after decades of war and has also given the US assurances that it will not allow the country to be used as a base for launching extremist attacks on other countries.