Afghanistan mosque explosion leaves 18 dead, including pro-Taliban cleric

A prominent critic of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government was among the people killed

Fox News

Image: REUTERS

An explosion tore through a crowded mosque in western Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 18 people, including a prominent cleric close to the Taliban.

Taliban officials and a local medic said. At least 21 people were hurt.

The explosion in the city of Herat left the courtyard of the Guzargah Mosque littered with bodies, the ground stained with blood, video from the scene showed. Men shouted, “God is great,” in shock and horror.

The bomb went off during Friday noon prayers, when mosques are full of worshippers.

Among the dead was Mujib-ul Rahman Ansari, a prominent cleric who was known across Afghanistan for his criticism of the country’s Western-backed governments over the past two decades. Ansari was seen as close to the Taliban, who seized control over Afghanistan a year ago as foreign forces withdrew.

His death was confirmed by the chief Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid. Just before the bombing, Ansari had been meeting in another part of the city with the Taliban government’s deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was on a visit to Herat. He had rushed from the meeting to the mosque to get to the noon prayers, an aide to Baradar said in a tweet mourning the cleric

Ambulances transported 18 bodies and 21 people wounded from the blast to hospitals in Herat, said Mohammad Daud Mohammadi, an official at the Herat ambulance center.

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About Cholo Brooks 17895 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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