An as-yet-unidentified assailant has pulled off the first major attack in Kabul since 13 US marines (and some 200 Afghans) were killed on the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport, a bombing that ripped through the crowd outside a major mosque in Kabul has left several Afghans dead, and many more badly wounded.
A Taliban spokesman said the blast struck near the entrance of the mosque and left "a number of civilians dead."
At the time of the attack, a funeral service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. Yet Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi told the Associated Press that no Taliban fighters were harmed in the attack and that those killed were mostly civilians outside the mosque's gate.
"I heard the sound of an explosion near the Eid Gah Mosque followed by gun firing," Abdullah, a nearby shopkeeper, told the AFP news agency, adding that the Taliban blocked the road shortly before the attack. Ambulances carrying the wounded were spotted rushing towards Kabul’s Emergency Hospital in the Shahr-e Naw neighborhood, AFP added. The hospital said on Twitter that four patients were treated there.
Some Afghan news sources put the number dead at 8, with more than 20 wounded, but no official body count has been confirmed.
According to WSJ, there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack on the Eid Gah mosque situated in the heart of the Afghan capital.
However, in recent weeks, Islamic State-Khorasan Province has launched several attacks on the Taliban, mostly in the eastern city of Jalalabad. Most immediate suspicion would seem to fall on that group, which has emerged as a prominent internal rival to the Taliban's rule.