An explosion rocked a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province as dozens of people gathered for Friday prayers, causing the roof to collapse and killing 62 worshippers and wounding 36 others, officials said.
“Both men and children are among those killed and wounded in the attack,” said Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar Province.
President Ghani condemned yesterday’s suicide bombing in Jalalabad and said “terrorists” cannot face the Afghan security forces on the battlefield, therefore, they target Afghan civilians.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both the Taliban and Islamic State are active in eastern Afghanistan, particularly Nangarhar province.
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The violence comes a day after a United Nations report said that Afghan civilians are dying in record numbers in the country’s increasingly brutal war, noting that more civilians died in July than in any previous one-month period since the UN began keeping statistics.
“Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan.
The report said that pro-government forces caused 2,348 civilian casualties, including 1,149 killed and 1,199 wounded, a 26 per cent increase from the same period in 2018. The report said 2,563 civilians were killed and 5,676 were wounded in the first nine months of this year. Insurgents were responsible for 62 per cent.