Conflict & Justice

Afghanistan: Suicide bombing at mosque kills more than 40 (VIDEO)


An Afghan policeman stands guard as devotees pray during Eid al-Adha at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul on October 26, 2012. Security is tight throughout the holiday, but it didn't prevent a suicide bombing at a mosque in northern Faryab province.



More than 40 people are dead after a suicide bombing at a mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Over 50 more were wounded in the explosion this morning in Maymana, the capital of Faryab province.

The bomber, who some witnesses say was dressed in police uniform, blew himself up as Muslim worshippers were leaving a service to mark the first day of the Eid al-Adha holiday, Reuters reported.

"We had just finished Eid al-Adha prayers and we were congratulating and hugging each other," the deputy governor of Faryab, Abdul Satar Barez, told Agence France Presse.

"Suddenly a big explosion took place and the area was full of dust and smoke and body parts of police and civilians were all over the place. It was a very powerful explosion."

Accounts of the death toll vary. Barez told AFP it was already at 42, including five children, and could rise further since a number of those injured are in critical condition.

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As many as 25 of the dead were police officers, the New York Times reported, among them the Afghan National Civil Order Police commander for Faryab, the head of the police quick-response force and the chiefs of police for two districts of Maymana.

It's suspected that senior police and government officials, several of whom had attended prayers at the mosque, were the bomber's intended targets, according to the BBC. The provincial governor and regional police chief both escaped serious injury.

While Faryab is generally considered to be a peaceful area, the BBC's correspondent writes, several tribal elders have recently been assassinated there. NATO forces have also carried out frequent raids targeting the Taliban and another militant group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Several officials have blamed the Taliban for the attack, though a spokesman for the militants said they didn't know who was responsible.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the culprits "the enemies of Islam and humanity," AFP reported. "Those who take the happiness of Muslims during Eid days cannot be called human and Muslim," Karzai said.