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At least 10 killed in attack on mosque in Afghan capital

People leave the site of an explosion as a Taliban fighter stands guard in Kabul, Afghanistan (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)
People leave the site of an explosion as a Taliban fighter stands guard in Kabul, Afghanistan (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

A powerful explosion ripped through a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Friday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 20, a Taliban spokesman said.

Hundreds of worshippers had gathered for prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Khalifa Aga Gul Jan Mosque was packed, said local residents, fearing the casualty toll could rise further.

The Taliban-appointed interior ministry spokesman, Mohammad Nafi Takor, could not provide more details and Taliban security men cordoned off the area.

The source of the explosion was not immediately known and no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

The explosion was so loud that the neighbourhood of the mosque shook from the blast, the residents said, speaking on condition of anonymity, fearing for their own safety.

Afghanistan Explosion
An ambulance carrying wounded people leaves the site of an explosion (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

Ambulances raced to the site, driving up to the end of a narrow street in an eastern neighbourhood of Kabul to reach the mosque, which belongs to Afghanistan’s majority Sunni Muslims.

The explosion was the latest in a series of such blasts amid relentless attacks across the country.

Similar attacks on mosques have recently targeted the country’s minority Shiite Muslims and were claimed by the so-called Islamic State group’s regional affiliate, known as Islamic State in Khorasan Province or IS-K.

IS has stepped up its attacks across Afghanistan to become the primary enemy of the Taliban since their takeover of the country last August.

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