Afghanistan: Dozens killed in bomb and gun attack on Shia mosque

Afghanistan: Dozens killed in bomb and gun attack on Shia mosque

Abdullah Asrat, spokesman for the governor of Paktia province, said the heavily armed attackers, disguised in the all-encompassing burkas worn by conservative Afghan women, opened fire on private security guards outside the mosque in the city of Gardez.

Sources told TOLOnews that more than 30 people have been killed and over 80 others were wounded in the twin blasts.

On the same day 11 people were killed in the western province of Farah when a bus was hit by a roadside bomb in what was believed to be a Taliban attack.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Daesh affiliate in Afghanistan has targeted Shia worshippers in the past.

The attack in Gardez comes as US and Afghan forces are intensifying ground and air offensives against IS, and the Taliban is stepping up its war with the group.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

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TRT World's Sultan Faizy, reporting from Afghanistan's capital Kabul, says officials suspect Daesh carried out the attack.

Last month a Daesh suicide bomber blew himself up near Kabul worldwide airport, killing 23 people including AFP driver Mohammad Akhtar. The increased attacks come as U.S. and Afghan forces intensify ground and air offensives against IS, and the Taliban step up their turf war with the group.

Earlier this week more than 150 Daesh fighters surrendered in northern Afghanistan - in a move that Afghan security forces and the Taliban hailed as the end of the extremist group in the north of the country.

President Ashraf Ghani in a statement condemned suicide bombing on Khwaja Hassan Mosque in Gardez City, calling it inhuman.

According to the United Nations, a total of 1,692 people have been killed in the first half of 2018, with another 3,430 people wounded - the highest figure since it began keeping records in 2009.

Another 3,430 people were wounded, the report added.

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