30 killed by suicide bomber in Afghan's Kandahar mosque

Screenshots from Alarabiya video of the bombing in Kandahar

Screenshots from Alarabiya News video of the bombing in Kandahar

No fewer than 30 people were killed Friday by a suicide bomber in a Shi’ite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.

The bombing happened during Friday prayers.

Reuters reported 15 deaths and 31 injured, but warned the death toll may rise.

Anadolu News agency reported 30 dead.

Taliban interior ministry spokesman Qari Saeed Khosti said authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

It comes days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State (ISIS) on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz killed scores of people.

Photographs and mobile phone footage posted by journalists on social media showed many people apparently dead or seriously wounded on the bloody floor of the Imam Bargah mosque.

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A health official said 15 dead and 31 wounded had been brought to the city’s Mirwais hospital but the total was expected to rise, with ambulances still bringing victims in.

Taliban special forces arrived to secure the site and an appeal went out to residents to donate blood for the wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Taliban grapple with an escalating economic and humanitarian crisis that threatens millions with hunger.

The local affiliate of ISIS, known as Islamic State Khorasan, after an ancient name for the region covering Afghanistan, has stepped up attacks following the Taliban victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

Taliban officials have played down the threat from Islamic State but the repeated attacks have tarnished its claim to have brought peace to Afghanistan after four decades of war.

The fact that the Shi’ite minority has again been targeted may also inflame tensions among different ethnic and sectarian groups in the largely Sunni country.