Kabul explosion: 'At least 50' dead as devastating blast rips through mosque

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The Afghan journalist Rabia Sadat reported that around 50 worshippers at the mosque had been killed including prominent religious scholar Maulvi Amir Mohammad Kabuli. The Taliban has yet to comment on the explosion.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the explosion was followed by the sound of gunfire in the area around the mosque.

Rabia Sadat said in a tweet: “Maulvi Amir Mohammad Kabuli, one of the prominent religious scholars, along with about 50 worshipers, died in the explosion on the Siddiquiya Mosque in the Khairkhane area of Kabul.

“A source says that the majority of the dead are from Panjshiri and North.

“The Taliban have not said anything about it so far.”

However, journalist Khaled Iskef gave a conflicting report that 20 people had been killed in the blast, with at least 40 injured.

Although the perpetrators of the attack are unknown, a likely suspect would be the hard line Islamic State in the Khorasan Province, an offshoot of ISIS.

The group is even more hardline than the Taliban and has vowed to continue to keep up attacks now that the group has taken over.

Less than a week ago, the group claimed responsibility for the killing of an influential Taliban religious leader .

Bilal Karimi, a spokesperson for the Taliban administration, said: “Very sadly informed that respected cleric [Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani] was martyred in a cowardly attack by enemies.”

This attack today, August 17, would be in keeping with other attacks by the ISIS group.

The group is also responsible for the suicide bombing outside the former Hamid Karzai International Airport – now known as Kabul International – which killed at least 183 people including 170 Afghans and 13 US marines.

The group recruits mostly Afghan and Pakistani jihadis who do not see the Taliban as extreme enough in its interpretation of Islam.

Islamic State in the Khorasan Province was set up in January 2015 at the height of Islamic State’s power. Khorasan refers to a historical region straddling Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The self-declared caliphate has since been defeated and largely scattered by a US-led coalition, however fighters remain loyal to the cause.

More to follow.

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