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5 killed in Kabul mosque blast after Taliban hold victory rally

A member of Taliban forces stands guard on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 3, 2021.   | Photo Credit: JORGE SILVA

Taliban supporters and senior figures held their first mass rally near Kabul on Sunday, but their show of strength was overshadowed by a bomb blast at the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital.

At least five civilians were killed in the blast, Qari Saeed Khosti, a Taliban Interior Ministry spokesman, said.

Mohammad Israil, a Kabul resident, said he heard the blast: “I heard a loud sound. All the people were running away.”

Initial reports indicate the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb. Three suspects have been arrested, Bilal Karimi, Taliban official spokesman said. He added the investigation was ongoing.

No foreign government has yet recognised the Islamist former rebels’ rule, though their hold on power within the country is becoming stronger, seven weeks after they took the capital.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid had said on Saturday that a prayer ceremony would be held at the mosque for his mother following her recent death. He made no reference to this on Sunday as he tweeted that the blast had killed civilians in the area.

Civilians in bloodied clothing were seen arriving at the nearby Kabul Emergency Hospital, and Khosti said.

Taliban fighters arriving at the hospital handed over their weapons and stripped off their body armour to go in to donate blood, and the hospital said on Twitter that four patients were being treated.

The blast, which could be heard across the centre of the capital, came shortly after the new Taliban “interim government” staged a rally just outside the capital, from which they were driven out in 2001 in a U.S.-led operation launched after the 9/11 attacks.

The pro-Taliban rally in Kohdaman township in the hilly outskirts of Kabul was attended by 1,500 men and boys.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 1:12:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/5-killed-in-kabul-mosque-blast-after-taliban-hold-victory-rally/article36805553.ece

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