Updated Oct 16, 2021 - World

Islamic State claims responsibility for deadly bombing in southern Afghanistan

The mosque after the blast in southern Kandahar province.
The mosque after the explosion in southern Kandahar province on Oct. 15. Photo: Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a massive blast that tore through a crowded Shiite mosque in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Friday, killing at least 47 people and injuring dozens more, AP reports.

Why it matters: Friday's attack was the deadliest to strike Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its troops from the region and is the second major attack on a Shiite mosque in a week, underscoring the Taliban's growing security threat from other militant groups.

The big picture: A suicide bombing, claimed by local Islamic State affiliate ISIS-K, killed at least 46 worshippers in the northern city of Kunduz earlier this month.

  • The Taliban have vowed to protect the country's Shiite minority, who were persecuted under the militant group's brutal rule in the 1990s.

State of play: IS said in a statement on Friday that two of the group’s members shot and killed security guards protecting the entrance of the Fatimiya mosque, per AP.

  • The attack involved multiple explosions, the New York Times reported, citing eyewitnesses.
  • "There are so many who have lost body parts, and among those in hospital in serious condition, I don’t know how many more numbers will be added to the death toll," community elder Hajji Farhad said, per AP.
  • Shiite leader Sayed Mohammed Agha urged the Taliban government to protect the Shiite minority saying, "our enemies will harm our society by any means they can."
  • Interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti tweeted that Taliban forces are in the area to investigate the attack "and bring the perpetrators to justice."
  • The UN mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack and called for those responsible to be held to account.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details.

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