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Explosion during Friday prayers in Pul-e Khumri, Baghlan province

Using footage shared online, Afghan Witness confirmed at least two deceased individuals.


13 Oct 2023

Figure: geolocation of the Shia Imam Zaman mosque in Pul-e Khumri city, Baghlan province [35.928500, 68.724715] and a blast mark inside the mosque [highlighted in red]

On October 13, 2023, a journalist and various media outlets reported an explosion in the Shia Imam Zaman mosque in PD2 of Pul-e Khumri city, Baghlan province. According to Hasht-e Subh news agency, a number of civilians were reportedly killed and injured as a result of the incident.

According to the Afghan Broadcasting Network (ABN), local sources say that 17 people were killed and 20 others were injured due to the explosion, while Baghlan Police, cited by The Khorasan Diary, stated: “There are several injured and dead.Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) alleged that the nature of the explosion was said to be an embedded bomb.  

Afghan Witness (AW) analysed the [WARNING: GRAPHIC] video shared by the ABN on X (formerly Twitter) showing the inside of the mosque after the explosion. At least two deceased individuals were confirmed by AW. Burn marks at the front of the mosque, in the area where the imam leads the prayers, indicates the explosion originated there. AW geolocated the mosque to the southern part of the downtown area, located near the A-76 road which runs through Pul-e Khumri city. Flags at the entrance of the mosque indicate the mosque was used by Shia worshippers.

At the time of writing, the attack has not been claimed by any group. The targeting of a Shia mosque would fit the modus operandi of Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP), however, besides one reported Taliban raid on an ISKP cell in July 2022, there has been no recorded ISKP activity in Baghlan province since the Taliban takeover. No attacks targeting civilians have been claimed by any group in Pul-e Khumri since August 2021.

AW will continue to monitor for further updates.

UPDATE: ISKP later claimed the attack the same day.

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