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AFP
October 19, 2019

Over 60 killed in Afghan mosque blast

Top Story

AFP
October 19, 2019

JALALABAD: At least 62 people were killed by a blast inside an Afghan mosque during Friday prayers, according to officials, a day after the United Nations said violence in the country had reached “unacceptable” levels.

The attack—the year’s second most deadly to date—took place in the eastern province of Nangarhar and also wounded at least 33 people, the provincial governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

The blast was carried out with “explosives that were placed inside the mosque”, Khogyani said, though other sources—including the Taliban—said the building may have been hit by a mortar.

A spokesman for the Islamist extremist Taliban said the group has “condemned this atrocity in the strongest terms” and labelled it a “major crime”.

The Islamic State group has also been active in Nangarhar.Witnesses said the roof of the mosque had fallen through after a “loud” explosion, the nature of which was not immediately clear. About 350 worshippers were inside at the time, local resident Omar Ghorzang told AFP. “Dozens of people were killed and wounded and were taken in several ambulances,” Haji Amanat Khan, a 65-year-old local resident, told AFP.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, through a spokesman, said children were among the injured. “Those responsible for this attack must be held accountable,” the spokesman said.The blast came after the United Nations released a new report on Thursday saying an “unprecedented” number of civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan from July to September.

The report, which also charts violence throughout 2019 so far, underscores how “Afghans have been exposed to extreme levels of violence for many years” despite promises by all sides to “prevent and mitigate harm to civilians”.It also noted the absurdity of the ever-increasing price paid by civilians given the widespread belief that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won by either side.

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