At least 3 dead, 15 injured in bomb blast in mosque in Nangarhar province

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At least three people were killed and 15 injured on Friday after a bomb exploded in a mosque in agitated Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson said.

The explosion – for which no group has yet claimed responsibility – underscores one of the many challenges facing the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan, with the UN warning that the country is also on the brink of collapse. worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

It happened during Friday prayers in Spin Ghar District in the Eastern Province, a hotbed of ISIS activity since the Taliban seized power in the country in August.

“I can confirm an explosion during Friday prayers inside a mosque in Spin Ghar district. There are casualties and deaths,” a Taliban official quoted by the news agency said. AFP.

Walli Mohammed, a former local activist, said the bomb appeared to have been hidden in a loudspeaker near the Imam’s stand.

When the speaker was turned on to ring the azaan – the call to begin the prayer ritual – the device exploded, he said.

The Afghan branch of the Islamic State group has been waging a campaign of violence in Nangarhar province since the Taliban returned to power.

Although ISIS and the Taliban are both extremist Sunni Islamist militant groups, they differ on matters of religion and strategy, which has led to fierce fighting between the two.

ISIS, which first emerged in Nangarhar in 2015, claimed responsibility for a series of bloody attacks in Afghanistan, including one at Kabul airport as the United States and other countries rushed to evacuate their citizens and their Afghan allies in the country.

Among the dozens of soldiers killed were 13 American soldiers, the worst single-day loss for the Pentagon in Afghanistan since 2011.

One of the latest, in early November, saw IS fighters raiding the Kabul National Military Hospital, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50.

More than 120 people were killed in ISIS attacks earlier this year on two mosques popular with the ethnic minority Hazara community.

The Taliban have said they have launched a counterinsurgency campaign, promising to quell the ISIS threat.

A Taliban intelligence spokesperson told reporters in Kabul on Wednesday that the agency had arrested nearly 600 ISIS operatives, including prominent figures and financial backers. Spokesman Khalil Hamraz said at least 33 ISIS operatives were killed in clashes with Taliban security forces.

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