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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

Jan 11, 2022 - World

Aid group reports major increase in Afghanistan child malnourishment

Health workers check children for signs of malnourishment at a Doctors Without Borders clinic in Herat. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty

Health care workers in the Afghan cities of Khost and Herat recorded major increases of severe acute malnutrition among children — 30-fold and 2-fold respectively — between November and December of 2021, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

State of play: Most foreign aid to Afghanistan has stopped flowing since the Taliban took power in August, sanctions are further hampering the economy, and the U.S. has frozen around $8 billion in Afghan Central Bank assets. That's led to a major cash shortage that comes with winter setting in and food prices rising, the IRC reports.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.