2021-10-03 18:00:01 At Least Two Dead, Four Wounded in Explosion Outside a Mosque in Kabul

At Least Two Dead, Four Wounded in Explosion Outside a Mosque in Kabul

An explosion outside a mosque in Kabul’s center killed at least two people on Sunday, according to a Taliban spokesman, highlighting the challenge of maintaining security for the country’s new rulers after decades of war.

The blast occurred around 3:30 p.m. outside the Eid Gah mosque in central Kabul, during funerary prayers for the mother of a high-ranking Taliban official, according to Qari Sayeed Khosti, the interior minister’s spokesman. The attack also injured at least four people.

“I heard a huge blast,” said Hasibullah, 45, a Kabul resident who was on his way to get groceries near the mosque on Sunday when it was bombed. “Everyone was terrified.” By early evening, the blood from the victims had been cleaned from the pavement outside the mosque.

The explosion was not claimed by any group, but it follows a pattern of similar attacks carried out by the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan. In the weeks since American-led troops withdrew from Afghanistan and the Western-backed government was deposed, the terror group has escalated its violence campaign.

After four decades of war and violence, the Taliban’s tenuous support in the capital is based on a promise to provide security. That security is backed up by the strict enforcement of religious laws, which include public executions and amputations for minor offenses.

However, since regaining power, the group has been forced to defend itself against attacks by the Islamic State and resistance forces. The Taliban is now in a position similar to the government it displaced: it is attempting to prevent insurgent attacks on its fighters and infrastructure.

The bombing at a mosque in Kabul on Sunday was the first since the Taliban took over the capital in August. It was the deadliest attack since an Islamic State suicide bomber killed 13 American service members and nearly 200 Afghan civilians during the evacuation of Kabul’s international airport earlier that month.

Taliban fighters hurried people away from the scene around Eid Gah mosque, a popular place of worship for Taliban officials, on Sunday. The city of more than five million people, like the rest of the country, is facing an economic downturn and a humanitarian crisis.

Furthermore, a drought and stalled international aid have put Afghanistan’s more than 30 million people in a precarious position, especially as winter approaches.

From Kabul, Victor Blue contributed reporting.

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At Least Two Dead, Four Wounded in Explosion Outside a Mosque in Kabul