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21 Nov, 2016 08:26

At least 32 killed, over 50 injured as blast hits Shiite mosque in Kabul – UN (GRAPHIC IMAGE)

At least 32 people were killed and more than 50 injured when a suicide bomber caused a powerful explosion at a Shiite mosque in Kabul, the UN mission in Afghanistan said, condemning the attack.

Casualties were confirmed by Fraidoon Obaidi, chief of the Kabul Police Criminal Investigation Department, Reuters reported.

The blast took place in the Darul Aman (Dar-ul-Aman) area of the city. 1TV channel reported that the blast took place during a Shiite ceremony in Baqer-ul-Oloom mosque, west of Kabul.

Officials from Kabul’s Istiqlal Hospital told TOLOnews that they have received 38 injured so far and some of them are in critical condition.

Children are among those killed in the attack, TOLOnews reported.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has denied his group had a role in the fatal attack, the network added.

Pernille Kardel, the acting head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), called the blast an “appalling attack on worshippers” and “an atrocity.” 

“UNAMA expresses its revulsion at this latest effort by extremists to stoke sectarian violence in Afghanistan,” said Kardel.

“Religious and ethnic tolerance are values the Afghan people hold strong, and I urge the Afghan authorities to do everything possible to defend Afghans of all faiths.”

This is the second blast to rock the Afghan capital on Monday. Early in the morning, two people were injured in an explosion in the Bagrami district, Basir Mujahid, a Kabul police spokesman confirmed to Pajhwok. According to eyewitnesses, two Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were the victims of the explosion.

Shiite neighborhoods in Afghanistan have been repeatedly targeted by militants. In October, at least 14 people were killed and 36 wounded after a gunman burst into a Shiite shrine in Kabul, during the marking of the Ashura festival in what appeared to have been a sectarian attack. The Taliban also denied its involvement in that attack.

Taliban has led a widespread insurgency since the mass departure of US forces in 2014, and is currently engaged in fighting government forces in about half of the country's provinces.