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Afghanistan: Explosion inside mosque in eastern country kills dozens

AFGHANISTAN (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — At least 62 people have been killed and at least 33 injured in a blast at a mosque in the eastern Afghan province of Nisghar province during Friday prayers. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Taliban condemned the attack and blamed the government forces or the Islamic State.

Afghanistan Explosion inside mosque news
File AFP
Afghanistan Explosion inside mosque news
File AFP
Afghanistan Explosion inside mosque news
File AFP
Afghanistan Explosion inside mosque news
File AFP

An explosion inside a mosque during Friday prayers in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 62 people and wounded dozens, officials said, a day after the United Nations said violence in the country had reached “unacceptable” levels.

At least 33 people were injured in the blast in the eastern province of Nangarhar, the provincial government spokesman Ataullah Khogiani told AFP.

He said the dead “all worshipers” and died in the blast in the region of Haskh Minh, about 50 km from the state capital Jalalabad.

A doctor at a hospital in Heske Minh told AFP earlier that “about” 32 bodies had arrived at the hospital in addition to 50 wounded.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Taliban have accused the government or the Islamic State of responsibility, while condemning the attack.

Witnesses said the roof of the mosque collapsed after the “loud” explosion, whose nature was not yet clear.

“Dozens of people were killed and injured and taken in several ambulances,” Haji Amanah Khan, 65, told AFP.

The bombing came a day after the United Nations released a new report on Thursday that said “an unprecedented” number of civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan from July to September.

The report, which also documents violence in 2019, monitors “Afghans have been exposed to excessive levels of violence for many years” despite promises from all sides to “prevent and mitigate civilian harm.”

The report also points to “the high price paid by civilians, especially as most parties are aware that the war in Afghanistan can not be won by either side.”

The UN Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said “civilian casualties were totally unacceptable,” adding that this underscored the importance of talks aimed at a ceasefire and a lasting political solution.

The figures – 1,174 people killed and 3,139 wounded from July 1 to September 30 – represent a 42 percent increase over the same period last year.

The United Nations has particularly blamed anti-government elements such as the Islamic State (IS) and the Taliban.

July alone has seen more deaths and injuries than any month since UNAMA began documenting violence in 2009.

The first six months of 2019 saw a decrease in the number of dead and wounded compared with previous years.

However, violence escalated in the third quarter and the overall death toll for this year rose to the highest since the withdrawal of NATO combat troops at the end of 2014.

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