A doctor says three people were killed and 15 others injured when Taliban officials confirmed the explosion at the mosque in the Spin Ghar area.
An explosion has hit a mosque in the Spin Ghar area of eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province during Friday prayers, killing at least three people and injuring 15 others, according to residents and Taliban officials.
A doctor at the local hospital told the AFP news agency that at least three people had been killed. “So far three killed, 15 wounded,” the doctor said. Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the toll.
One of the witnesses, whose uncle was injured in the attack, told Al Jazeera that he saw at least 15 wounded corpses, including the Imam leading the prayer. He said the blast took place near where the imam himself was standing in the crowded mosque.
Earlier, Qari Hanif, the government spokesman for Nangarhar province, told The Associated Press that the blast appeared to be caused by a bomb planted inside the mosque.
Atal Shinwari, a resident of the area, told Reuters news agency that the explosion took place around 1 p.m. 13:30 local time (09:00 GMT) when explosives apparently located inside the mosque detonated.
Walli Mohammed, a local elder and activist, told AFP the bomb appeared to have been hidden in a loudspeaker. When the speaker was turned on to sound the azan – the call to begin the prayer – the device detonated, he said.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Islamic State in Khorasan province, ISKP (ISIS-K) – an affiliated group of ISIL (ISIS) – has claimed responsibility for a series of bloody attacks in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s return to power in August.
At least 19 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in an ISKP attack on a military hospital in Kabul in early November.
The ISKP, which originated in Nangarhar province, has particularly targeted mosques used by the Hazara ethnic minority community.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has fired the group, which was recognized by the group’s central management in 2015 as “not a major threat”.
The security challenge comes as the UN has repeatedly warned that Afghanistan is on the brink of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than half of the country facing “acute” food shortages.
About 3.2 million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in Afghanistan by the end of this year, and 1 million of them are at risk of dying when temperatures drop, a spokesman for the World Health Organization said on Friday.