Afghanistan: Dozens killed in explosion at mosque

At least 62 dead, 100 injured after blast during Friday prayers in Nangarhar

A volunteer carries an injured youth to hospital, following a bomb blast in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan. Photograph: Noorullah Shirzada/ AFP via Getty Images

A volunteer carries an injured youth to hospital, following a bomb blast in Haska Mina district of Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan. Photograph: Noorullah Shirzada/ AFP via Getty Images

 

Blasts in a mosque in eastern Afghanistan during Friday prayers killed at least 62 men who had gathered for worship, local officials said.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for Nangarhar province’s governor, said there were multiple blasts from explosives placed inside the mosque in the Jawdara area of Haska Mena district.

The roof of the mosque had completely fallen in.

Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council in Nangarhar, while expecting a rise in the number of casualties, said that more than 100 others had been wounded.

Malik Mohammadi Gul Shinwari, a tribal elder from the area, said that the mosque had completely collapsed.

“It was a heartbreaking scene I witnessed with my eyes,” Shinwari said, adding that 32 bodies and scores of injured have been transported from the blast site.

Tezab Khan, a member of the local police who was on duty in the area, said: “I could hear the Mullah who was preaching and suddenly his voice was silenced with a boom,”

“When I arrived on the scene, people were trying to bring out the bodies and injured who were stuck under the fallen roof.”

The Jawdara area is controlled by the Afghan security forces.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the blasts so far.

The Taliban and Islamic State fighters are actively operating in parts of Nangarhar that share a border with Pakistan in the east.

In western Herat province, six civilians including four children were killed when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, said Jelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor.

Mr Farhad added that five other civilians were wounded in the attack in the Zawal district.

The violence comes a day after a United Nations report said Afghan civilians are dying in record numbers in the increasingly brutal war, noting that more civilians died in July than in any previous one-month period since the UN began keeping statistics. The report recorded 4,313 civilians killed and wounded in the past three months.

The report also said 2,563 civilians were killed and 5,676 were wounded in the first nine months of this year. Insurgents were responsible for 62 per cent.

The report said pro-government forces caused 2,348 civilian casualties, including 1,149 killed and 1,199 wounded, a 26 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.– AP, Reuters