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62 Killed, Dozens Injured In Afghanistan Mosque Bombing

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HASKA MINA: At least 62 people have been killed and dozens injured in a bomb blast during Friday prayers at a mosque in Afghanistan, according to a provincial spokesman.

The blast took place in eastern Nangarhar province and destroyed the building’s roof, said eyewitnesses. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far; not even the Taliban.

Both the Taliban and the Islamic State militant group are known to be active in the area.

The attack came a day after the United Nations (UN) said that the number of civilian deaths in the war-torn country had reached unprecedented levels over the summer when violence was at its peak.

According to the UN, at least 1,174 civilians were killed between July and September, which was the deadliest quarter since the UN records began a decade ago.

Meanwhile, a BBC study which tried to document every killing during the month of August found a fifth of all those who lost their lives were civilians.

Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor’s spokesman, told the BBC that the 62 people killed in the blast and 36 more injured in Friday’s attack were worshippers.

The mosque is located in the Haska Mina district, which is about 50 kilometres from the provincial capital Jalalabad. According to eyewitnesses, a loud explosion was heard before the roof of the mosque caved in.

Local police officer Tezab Khan said that he could hear the sound of the prayer leader’s sermon but “suddenly his voice was silenced by a boom”.

“When I arrived on the scene, people were trying to bring out the bodies and injured who were stuck under the fallen roof,” he added.

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Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council in Nangarhar, warned that the number of casualties was likely to rise as people were “working to bring out the bodies from the rubble”.

According to the UN, anti-government forces have been responsible for the majority of civilian deaths since the start of 2019, especially when violence surged over the summer. It is pertinent to mention here that in the first six months of this year, the highest numbers of civilians were killed by Afghan and US forces.

The UN’s data, released on Thursday, also revealed that 41 per cent of all those killed since January were women and children.

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