Suicide Bombers Attack Two Afghan Mosques Reuters

At least 72 people were killed in two separate suicide attacks on a Shia mosque in the Afghan capital Kabul and a Sunni mosque in the central province of Ghor on Friday (20 October). The Shia mosque attack was claimed by the Islamic State (Isis) but the claim was not substantiated.

At least 39 worshippers were killed at the Imam Zaman mosque in Kabul when an unidentified gunman sprayed bullets. He then detonated an explosive, the Afghan interior ministry said.

"I was in the mosque bathroom when I heard a blast. I rushed inside the mosque and saw all the worshippers covered in blood," one of the worshippers told AFP.

In Ghor province, located west of Kabul, a suicide bomber carried out an attack during afternoon prayers at the Sunni mosque, killing 33 people, including women and children. Dozens of others were injured, many of them seriously.

Following the attacks, Afghan security forces have cordoned off the areas. More than 175 people have been killed in extremist attacks in Afghanistan this week alone.

In a statement, President Ashraf Ghani said: "Such acts will not affect Afghans' unity." He added that the bombings were against Islamic values and inhuman.

The US State Department issued a statement condemning the attacks and expressing solidarity with the Afghan government. "In the face of these senseless and cowardly acts, our commitment to Afghanistan is unwavering," the department's spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. "The United States stands with the government and people of Afghanistan and will continue to support their efforts to achieve peace and security for their country."