At least 62 people have been killed in a mosque attack in Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan. This was announced by the provincial governor Attaullah Chogiani. At least 36 others were injured.
As a result of one or possibly several explosions during Friday prayers, the roof of the mosque in the Haska Mina district collapsed. What exactly triggered the explosion or explosions is still unclear. The church is completely destroyed, according to local officials. About 250 people were in the mosque.
So far nobody admitted to the attack. The militant Islamist Taliban and the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS) are active in Nangarhar province. According to local authorities, Haska Mina district is largely controlled by the government. IS fighters were evicted from the area the previous year, but still have a small presence in the district. A spokesman for the Taliban denied Twitter's involvement in the attack and condemned it.
More and more civilians are falling victim to the conflict
According to the UN, Nangarhar province has always been the second most civilian victim in Afghanistan after Kabul in recent months. About ten days ago, at least ten people were killed in a bomb attack in the provincial capital of Jalalabad, including one child.
According to the Uno mission in Afghanistan (Unama), the conflict is increasingly demanding civilian casualties. The number of civilians wounded and killed increased 42 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, Unama announced on Thursday. With nearly 1,200 people killed and more than 3,100 injured, the highest number of civilian casualties has been documented within a quarter of the UN's systematic recording in 2009.
The strong increase between 1 July and 30 September is mainly due to more victims by the Taliban. The increase coincided with the ongoing US talks with the Taliban over a political settlement of the longstanding conflict. According to experts, all conflict sides wanted to build pressure on the negotiating table through military successes. At the beginning of September, US President Donald Trump surprisingly canceled the talks shortly before a colluded settlement.