A deadly blast in a mosque in the western part of Kabul occurred during Friday prayers killing at least four people including the prayer leader and wounding up to eight people, according to Afghanistan’s interior ministry.
“Explosives placed inside the Sher Shah Suri Mosque exploded during Friday prayers,” a statement issued by the ministry said, which also stated that the mosque’s prayer leader Azizullah Mofleh was among those who were killed.
Tariq Arian representative of the interior ministry said police have cordoned off the area and helped move the injured to ambulances and nearby hospitals.
According to Arian who told Anadolu Agency, the incident took place in the posh Karta-4 neighbourhood of the city.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the blast attack. However, a mosque attack which occurred earlier this month was claimed by an ISIL or ISIS group affiliate, headquartered in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.
“Interestingly, every time you have the peace process gaining some momentum and pace, you have these kinds of attacks in the country,” a national security analyst based in Kabul, Habib Wardak, told Al Jazeera.
“The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack that happened last week on a mosque in Kabul, so despite the fact that you have these news and press conference from the government that they have eliminated ISIL, how can they conduct such sophisticated operations?”
The Taliban, on the other hand, were quick to distance itself from the mosque attack.
A group’s representative, Zabihullah Mujahed, wrote in a social media post that the attack was part of a conspiracy by the ”enemy” at a crucial time when peace talks are advancing.
The Afghan government called the attack as ”inhuman” and ”against the principles of Islam.”
Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO’s senior civilian spokesperson in Kabul, stressed the perpetrators must be brought to justice.
“As we face a historical opportunity for peace, spoilers can’t be allowed to disrupt it. We stand with #Afghanistan in the fight against terror,” Pontecorvo said on Twitter.
“I strongly condemn the attack on Sher Shah Suri mosque. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. As we face a historical opportunity for peace, spoilers can’t be allowed to disrupt it. We stand with #Afghanistan in the fight against terror.”- #NATO SCR @pontecorvoste
— NATO in Afghanistan (@NATOscr) June 12, 2020
“In this attack, the imam seems to be the target, not the rest of the crowd. These are the imams who have supported the peace process with the Taliban movement,” Wardak said.
“The other political aspect for these kinds of attacks is that there are peace spoilers trying to convey a message that peace with the Taliban will not eradicate violence in the country because you have ISIL.”
Violence has spiked in Afghanistan in recent weeks with most of the attacks claimed by the ISIL associate.
The ISIL took the responsibility for many attacks such that of the attack on a bus carrying journalists as Kabul on May 30 killing at least 2 people. They were also blamed by the United States for the attack on the maternity hospital in the capital that killed 24 people, including two infants and several new mothers.
The group also took responsibility for an attack on the funeral of a strongman loyal to the government last month that killed 35 people.
While the United States is attempting to broker peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to end 18 years of war. The peace deal signed in February signals the removal of the US and NATO troops from Afghanistan in return for a pledge by the Taliban group to not launch attacks on the US or its allies.