By Hawa Mahmoodi
At 1 pm on October 8, when worshipers gathered for Friday prayer, an explosion took place inside the Sayedabad Mosque in Khan Abad district of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 50 people.
The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed on his Twitter that it was a suicide attack carried out by a “Takfiri insurgent.”
Daesh or the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) has taken responsibility for the attack, claiming to have targeted the centralShiite-Hazaras’ mosque in Kunduz province. Since its establishment in 2015, the Afghan branch of the Islamic State has regularly targeted Hazaras, an ethnic andShiite minority in Afghanistan.
The exact number of causalities is not confirmed yet. On Friday a doctor at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz province told Rakhshana Media that more than 50 people have been killed and more than 100 were injured in the explosion. However, MSF tweeted that “۹۰ wounded and 20 dead” have been transferred to their hospital in Kunduz.
A doctor who works in one of the hospitals in Kunduz, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Rukhshana Media that more than 350 people had been killed and wounded who have been transferred to several hospitals, including MSF and Kunduz provincial Hospital.
A local source told Rukhshana Media that since some of the families have taken the bodies of their loved one’s home, providing the accurate number of causalities, seems difficult.
The source who does not want his name to be mentioned due to security threats, said victims include children and youth. “Some of those who have been killed were doctors, engineers, and former government employees,” he added.
He confirmed that the mosque was the largest Shiite mosque in Kunduz province.
“Some of the bodies were buried in a mass grave,” said the source, “because they couldn’t be identified.”
“Last night, I was in a mosque helping with burial of victims, people brought hands and feet of a victim that didn’t match the body,” a local resident of Khan Abad told Rukhshana Media, “Also, there was a body that no one could identify.”
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) called the mosque attack a “targeted attack on a persecuted minority” and called for the protection of Hazaras, in a tweet posted on October 8.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) also condemned the attack, calling it “a crime in the continued systematic killings of Shiites and Hazaras in the country.”
Seyedabad Mosque has a capacity of about 500 people at a time. On the day the mosque was targeted by ISIS suicide bombers, about 400 people gathered for Friday prayers, according to a local source.
Local residents told Rukhshana Media that the Taliban have disarmed the guards who were in charge of mosques’ security.