Afghanistan: Taliban says car bomb near Kabul mosque kills 7, wounds 41

A car bomb exploded as worshipers were leaving a Kabul mosque on Friday, killing at least seven people and wounding 41, including several children, a Taliban official said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a steady stream of attacks since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan just over a year ago.

A plume of black smoke rose into the sky and gunfire rang out several minutes after the explosion near the mosque, located in a high-profile diplomatic quarter of the Afghan capital.

A spokesman for the Taliban-appointed Interior Ministry, Abdul Nafi Takor, said the vehicle with explosives was parked on the side of the road near the mosque and detonated as worshipers were leaving after Friday prayers. He added that an investigation was underway, with police on the scene.

The Italian Emergency Hospital, one of the clinics in Kabul that treated the victims, said it received 14 victims at the scene, with four dead on arrival.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, said worshipers were deliberately targeted as they left the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque.

“Targeting mosques and worshipers is an unforgivable crime, the nation should cooperate with the regime to eliminate criminals,” said Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The Islamic State group – one of the main rivals of the Taliban since its takeover in Afghanistan just over a year ago – has previously attacked mosques and worshippers, and especially members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority.

The United Nations mission in Kabul tweeted that the attack was another “bitter reminder of the ongoing insecurity and terrorist activity in Afghanistan.”

“Our thoughts are with the families of the dead, wishing a speedy recovery to the injured,” added the mission, known as UNAMA.

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