Many killed in Afghan mosque blast
- Many killed in Afghan mosque blast
Wednesday 01 June 2005, 11:55 Makka Time, 8:55 GMT
At least 16 people have been killed in an attack on a mosque in the southern
Afghan city of Kandahar, with reports that Kabul's police chief was among the
According to Kandahar deputy police chief General Salim Khan, the bomb
exploded at the entrance to the Mullah Abdul Fayaz Mosque on Wednesday as
people entered the building to pray at a funeral.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal put the toll at 16 dead and 36
wounded and said an investigation had begun.
An AFP journalist who witnessed the blast, Sohaib Safi, said Kabul police
chief General Akram Khakreezwal was among the dead, adding that an unknown
assailant dressed in a police uniform had blown himself up immediately upon
entering the building.
Safi also estimated that more than 20 people had been killed or wounded in the
explosion that targeted the funeral of a Muslim cleric who was shot dead by
suspected Taliban fighters at the weekend.
"There were some 50 to 60 people inside the mosque when the explosion
occurred. This was a very big explosion, and there is blood everywhere in the
mosque and outside it. Human limbs are scattered all over the mosque
compound," the journalist added.
Precise casualty figures were difficult as other journalists report that many
body parts and clothes were strewn around the building.
The explosion occurred inside the mosque in the centre of the city, during the
funeral for Mawlavi Abdullah Fayaz - who was shot dead by suspected Taliban
members because of his vocal support for President Hamid Karzai.
Fayaz served as the head of the Islamic scholar's council,a
government-appointed body, and criticised prominent Taliban leader Mullah
Mohammad Omar at a recent gathering of clerics.
However, a Taliban spokesman told AFP he knew nothing about the blast and none
of his men had contacted him about it.
Kandahar was a stronghold of the Taliban government that was ousted from power
in late 2001 by US-led forces for harbouring al-Qaida leader Usama bin Ladin.
Taliban and other rebel groups opposed to Karzai's US-backed government have
increased their activities in recent weeks after a winter lull with a series
of bombings and other attacks.
US-led coalition forces and Afghan troops have hit back hard, killing nearly
200 suspected insurgents and capturing dozens more since March.