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Taliban fighters investigate following the attack in Kunduz. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

A suicide bombing inside a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan on Friday killed more than 45 people and wounded dozens of others, AP reports.

Driving the news: ISIS-K, an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the blast, which took place as people gathered for Friday noon prayers at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in the city of Kunduz, per AP. It's the highest death toll in an attack since U.S. and NATO troops withdrew from the country in August.

  • Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi told AP that at least 46 people were killed and more than 140 were wounded. Health officials warned the death total was expected to climb, Reuters notes.

The big picture: The attack comes as the Taliban contend with a growing security threat from ISIS-K militants, who have stepped up attacks in recent weeks.

  • Several civilians were killed or wounded in a bomb blast at a mosque in Kabul earlier this month, per Reuters. The Taliban said their forces destroyed an ISIS-K cell following the attack.

What they're saying: "Today’s incident is part of a disturbing pattern of violence: 3rd deadly attack this week apparently targeting a religious institution," the UN mission to Afghanistan tweeted.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Go deeper

Oct 16, 2021 - World

U.S. offers condolence payments to families of civilians killed in Kabul air strike

Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby (left) and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor at a press briefing following the Kabul drone strike. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Pentagon has offered unspecified payments as a condolence to the families of 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, who were killed in an Aug. 29 U.S. drone strike in Kabul.

Why it matters: Though U.S. military officials initially said the drone strike targeted an Islamic State member, they later admitted that Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker who was driving the car struck by the drone, was an innocent victim.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.