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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.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 23, 2021 - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.