ISIS-K claims responsibility for deadly attack at Afghanistan mosque

ISIS-K claims responsibility for deadly attack at Afghanistan mosque
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The group known as Islamic State Khorasan claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that left more than 40 people dead and more injured on Friday as noon prayer was underway at a mosque in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

The ISIS group said in a statement through its affiliated news agency that it was behind the attack and the suicide bomber was a Uygher Muslim, according to The Associated Press. The statement said the bombing was intended to attack Taliban and Shiites, claiming that the groups were involved in deporting Uyghers, essentially catering to China.

The ISIS Afghanistan affiliate has considered the Taliban an enemy for not adhering to a stricter version of Islam.

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The mosque, which was filled with Shiite worshippers — the Muslim minority in Afghanistan — was also damaged in the deadly bombing, including damages to the ceiling and broken windows, the AP noted. 

The Shiites were part of the Hazara minority, according to The Washington Post, which noted that they have been regular targets of the Taliban and other insurgent Sunni Muslism groups. The New York Times noted that the group is also an extremist Sunni organization that has gone after the Hazara group.

A spokesperson for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, confirmed on Twitter earlier Friday that the mosque had been targeted, saying it “kill[ed] several of our compatriots and injur[ed] several others.”

State Department spokesperson Ned Price issued a statement hours after the bombing, saying that “The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s attack on worshippers at Friday prayers in Kunduz, Afghanistan. We offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. The Afghan people deserve a future free of terror.”

The deadly incident comes less than a week after a bombing took place just outside the main mosque of Afghanistan’s capital, which killed at least two people. The Islamic State affiliate also took credit for this attack. 

In late August, the group also claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near the Kabul airport which killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens more Afghans.