Another bombing in Afghanistan has left scores of victims dead or injured.
According to reports, a mosque in Kunduz was targeted by terrorists this week, resulting in the deaths of 46 individuals and injuries for 143 others.
ISIS-K claims credit
The number of casualties makes it the worst terrorist attack in the war-torn country since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of August.
Reports indicate that the bombing struck the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque, which was crowded at the time for afternoon prayer services. As the service was taking place, a suicide bomber is said to have entered the house of worship and detonated his device.
As of Friday, the Taliban confirmed the count of dead and injured victims, though it is unclear if any of those wounded in the blast have since died as a result.
ISIS-K, a regional faction of the Islamic State terrorist group, reportedly claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. The bomber was identified as a Uyghur Muslim said to have been targeting Shiite Muslims for their purported willingness to grant China’s request to expel Uyghurs from the country.
These claims were first published by the Aamaq news outlet, which is linked to the Islamic State. The Taliban responded by confirming that it would be conducting its own investigation into the incident.
Sectarian violence persists
The victims were identified specifically as Hazaras, an ethnic minority that practices Shiite Islam. The group has been targeted by ISIS and the Taliban in the past, especially among Afghanistan’s Sunni Islam majority.
It is unclear why the targeted mosque was chosen, though it is likely that its Shiite status played a role.
Afghanistan was the scene of two other attacks on religious institutions in the past week. The spike in violence has further raised concerns about the ability of the Taliban to protect Afghan citizens from Islamic State attacks now that the United States has left the country.
President Joe Biden has already faced widespread criticism for his administration’s chaotic military exit from Afghanistan as his approval rating has plummeted over the past several weeks.
It seems clear that news of yet another senseless terrorist attack will only contribute to the backlash against the Biden administration.