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Worshippers killed in car bomb attack at Kabul mosque

Taliban fighters stand guard at the explosion site, near a mosque, in Kabul (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)
Taliban fighters stand guard at the explosion site, near a mosque, in Kabul (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

A car bomb went off as worshippers were leaving a Kabul mosque, killing at least seven people and wounding 41 including several children, a Taliban official said.

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

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

A Taliban-appointed Interior Ministry spokesman, Abdul Nafi Takor, said the vehicle with explosives was parked by the roadside near the mosque and detonated as worshippers were coming out after Friday prayers. He added that an investigation was under way, with police at the site.

Afghanistan Explosion
The explosion went off near a mosque in Afghanistan’s capital (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

The Italian Emergency Hospital, one of Kabul’s clinics that treated the victims, said it received 14 casualties from the site, with four dead on arrival.

Khalid Zadran, a spokesman for the Kabul police chief, said worshippers were intentionally targeted as they were leaving the Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque.

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

The Islamic State group — a top rival of the Taliban since their takeover in Afghanistan just over a year ago — has previously targeted mosques and worshippers, and especially members of Afghanistan’s minority Shiites in attacks.

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

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