A suicide bombing has hit a mosque at a government ministry in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, killing four people and wounding 25, a ministry spokesman said.
The explosion on Wednesday afternoon took place as workers and visitors were praying inside a mosque of Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry, which is responsible for security and law enforcement in the country. The ministry is on Kabul’s main road next to Kabul International Airport, and is in its own fortified compound.
A Taliban-appointed spokesman for the ministry, Abdul Nafi Takor, said in a tweet: “Unfortunately this afternoon, about 1:30pm [09:00 GMT], there was an explosion in a sub mosque at the Ministry of Interior, as a result four worshippers were martyred and 25 others were wounded. The incident is under investigation, we will share the details with the media when it is done.”
He said earlier that the blast happened as ministry workers and visitors were praying.
Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion, but the ISIL (ISIS) group affiliate in Afghanistan, the chief rival of the Taliban, has been waging a campaign of violence targeting the Taliban and minority Shia that has intensified since the Taliban took power in August 2021.
Italian aid group Emergency, which runs a hospital in Kabul, said on Twitter that it had received 20 patients from the blast, two of whom were dead on arrival.
“The number of injured people arriving increased and they reported seeing a man detonate a device,” said Dejan Panic, the Afghanistan director for Emergency.
“It was a suicide attack,” he added in a statement, quoting patients.
On Wednesday afternoon the Emergency hospital was closely guarded by Taliban forces, who were also heavily deployed around the scene of the attack.
The latest blast comes after a suicide bombing on Friday killed 53 people at an education centre in Kabul, including 46 girls and women, according to a United Nations toll.
Witnesses said the attacker blew himself up in the women’s section of a gender-segregated classroom in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood – an enclave of the historically oppressed Shia Hazara community.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for that attack.
However, ISIL, which considers Shia Muslims to be heretics, has carried out several deadly attacks in the same area targeting girls, schools and mosques.
The ruling Taliban have said they have secured the country since taking over in 2021 after a two-decade armed uprising. But although widespread fighting has ended, a series of blasts have hit urban centres in recent months.