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Popular TV imam killed in bomb blast at Kabul mosque

May 25, 2019

KABUL: A blast at a Kabul mosque during Friday prayers killed two people, including a prominent Afghan religious scholar, and injured 16 others, officials said.

The bomb at Al-Taqwa mosque in the east of the capital appeared to target Mawlawi Raihan, an imam who appeared frequently on religious shows broadcast on local TV. President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning the attack, blaming "terrorists".

They "are justifying their crimes and misinterpreting religious values and teachings by silencing the voice of a brave religious scholar and patriot", Ghani said. The explosion took place around 1:20 pm (0850 GMT) during Friday prayers, which in the holy month of Ramazan are usually well attended. Police spokesman Firdaws Faramarz confirmed Raihan had died in what he said was a blast caused by a standalone bomb. "It was not a suicide attack," he said. While Kabul has seen frequent attacks on Shiite shrines and gatherings -- particularly by the Islamic State group´s Afghanistan affiliate -- Raihan was a Sunni.

His Facebook page features a picture of him standing alongside members of the Afghan security forces. Nobody claimed responsibility for the blast.