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Blast Kills At Least 40 In Afghan Mosque

  • RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

MAYMANA, Afghanistan -- A suicide bomber has detonated his explosives inside a mosque in northwestern Afghanistan, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 70 others.

The attack occurred in Maymana, the capital of Faryab Province.

The Eidgah mosque was crowded with worshippers who had gathered for prayers marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha. The explosion occurred just after prayers ended and people were leaving the building.

The deputy governor of Faryab Province, Abdul Satar Barez, said 19 members of the security forces, including policemen, army, and intelligence personnel, were among the dead.

Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Abdul Rahman said the police chief of Faryab Province was one of those killed.

Barez said the attacker was dressed as a policeman.

Local officials said they expected the casualty figure to increase as rescue and medical crews arrive at the scene.

'Enemies Of Islam And Humanity'

Deputy Interior Minister Rahman said precautions taken to prevent such an attack clearly failed.

"Thousands of people attending the Eid prayers were searched by us, and no one could imagine that the Taliban or so-called agents of foreigners could commit such an act during worship," Rahman said.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying it was planned and carried out by "enemies of Islam and humanity."

Karzai said that "those who take [away] the happiness of Muslims during the Eid days cannot be called human and Muslim."

No one has yet taken responsibility for the attack.

On October 25, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar called on his supporters to refrain from attacks on Islamic holy days.

Another suicide bombing was prevented in the eastern Baghlan Province when police arrested a 17-year-old with a suicide-bomber vest.

His apparent target was the provincial police chief, Asadullah Sherzad.

With reporting by AP and dpa