At least five civilians were killed in a bomb explosion at the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul on Oct. 3, according to Taliban officials. The explosion is believed to have targeted a funeral service held for Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s mother. Four people were also wounded in the incident.
The attack was the first to hit the capital since August when an ISIS-K suicide bomber targeted an American evacuation attempt just outside the international airport in Kabul. The attack claimed the lives of 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Marco Puntin, country director at Afghanistan For Emergency, an Italian funded emergency hospital in Kabul, said that he had heard gunshots following the Oct. 3 blast. “We received four patients, three of them had shrapnel injuries while one had a bullet wound,” Puntin said. He added that all four patients were currently in stable condition.
One Taliban soldier who claimed to have seen the attack told Reuters that eight people were injured and two died in the explosion. He believes that there were two bombers, one of whom was killed while the other was caught trying to escape from the scene.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack. Islamic State extremists are the prime suspects as they have been ramping up their attacks on the Taliban over the past couple of weeks. Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi stated that three suspects were arrested in relation to Sunday’s attack. He also added that no Taliban fighters were injured in the incident.
Attacks in the capital city of Kabul have been a rare occurrence, but IS militants seem to be moving their presence closer to the city. The Taliban recently raided a hideout occupied by the IS in the Parwan province, north of Kabul.
The Taliban themselves were at the forefront of coordinating shootings and bombings during their 20-year insurgency, but now that they have formed the government, the Taliban is struggling to neutralize rival militant groups that are employing the same techniques.
The attacks come as Afghanistan is witnessing an economic crisis post Taliban takeover. Foreign aid that used to be given to the country’s Washington-backed government has now been stopped.