Islamic State claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing that killed 47 people in southern Afghanistan and injured scores more. The relatives laid the bodies to rest on Saturday and urged the Taliban to protect them.
IS posted a statement late Friday night on social media stating that two members of the group shot and killed security guards at the Fatimiya mosque, Kandahar province.
One set off his explosives at the mosque’s entrance, the other inside.
IS’s news agency Amaq released a statement naming the attackers as Anas al-Khurasani (both Afghan nationals) and Abu Ali al-Baluchi (both IS).
Saturday saw the families of the victims dig their graves, and then transport the bodies to their final resting places. Although 63 graves were dug, the Taliban’s provincial chief for culture and information claimed that 47 people had died.
Hajji Farhad, a community elder, said that many people have lost their body parts and are currently in serious condition in hospitals. “I don’t know how many more will die.”
Shiite leader Sayed Mohamed Agha asked the Taliban government for serious measures to defend the Shiite minority. “Our enemies will harm our society through any means they can,” he said.
This attack occurred a week after 46 people were killed in a bombing at a Shiite mosque north of Afghanistan by the local Islamic State affiliate. It raises fears that IS, an enemy both of the Taliban and the West, is expanding its presence in Afghanistan.
Friday’s attack was the most deadly to hit Afghanistan since the abrupt U.S. withdrawal. This allowed the Taliban to take control of Kabul. It was also the first major attack of the group from the country’s southern regions.
IS is a terrorist organization that attacks its eastern stronghold. However, it has recently shown signs of expansion with attacks in the north, Kabul, and elsewhere.
These attacks have put into doubt the Taliban’s ability and will to combat the IS threat.
The Taliban have vowed to restore security and peace after decades of war, and they have given assurances to the U.S. that the country will not be used to launch extremist attacks against other countries.