Conflicts & War

Blast kills 12, injures 15 during Friday prayers in Afghanistan

Kabul, May 14 (EFE).- At least 12 people were killed and 15 others were wounded by a blast on Friday inside a mosque in Afghanistan, breaking a three-day ceasefire between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

The blast took place at 1:30 pm in Shakar-Dara district north of Kabul province, during Friday prayers inside Hajji Bakhshi mosque, Kabul police said.

“12 people, including Mufti Numan, the Imam of the mosque, were martyred and 15 more were injured,” Kabul police spokesman Firdaws Faramarz told Efe.

Police are investigating the incident while the wounded are evacuated to hospitals.

The explosion took place during the second day of a three-day ceasefire to mark the Eid-al-Fitr religious holiday announced by the Taliban on Monday which the Afghan government had agreed to.

The truce came at a decisive moment in the Afghan conflict, as US and NATO troops started the final stages of their withdrawal from the country on May 1.

The departure of Western forces is set to conclude by September 11, to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks which triggered the occupation of Afghanistan.

The withdrawal of 2,500 US troops and 7,000 NATO troops takes place amid escalating violence in Afghanistan as a result of a Taliban offensive in multiple provinces, which has caused more than 1,500 Taliban casualties.

The Afghan government refuses to disclose casualties on its side.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on Thursday for a permanent ceasefire and a return to the Doha negotiations that began in September, which are stuck at a stalemate. EFE

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