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Afghanistan: Suicide Bomb Kills Dozens on Muslim Holiday
Blast occured at a mosque killing over 17 civilians, 5 children
A suicide bomb detonated at a mosque Friday morning as worshipers were emerging from prayers on the first day of Id al-Adha, the most important Muslim holiday of the year.
According to an early report by the New York Times, "at least 45 were killed and 60 wounded in the attack in Maymana, the capital of Faryab Province" in the northern region of Afghanistan. In addition to the 25 members of the Afghan National Security Forces that were killed, there were at least seventeen civilians death including five children.
Al Jazeera spoke to witnesses who say the attacker—who appeared to be as young as 14 or 15— "was wearing a police uniform as he passed through four security checkpoints," before detonating "at the entrance to the city's packed Eid Gah mosque." The Id al-Adha prayer services are among the most heavily attended of the year with worshippers frequently overflowing the mosque, listening to the sermon over loudspeakers.
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, strongly condemned the attack, calling the perpetrators "the enemies of Islam and humanity." Announcing, "those who take the happiness of Muslims during Eid days cannot be called human and Muslim."
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Candace Rondeaux, a senior Afghanistan analyst with the International Crisis Group, told Al Jazeera that there were "other actors participating in the conflict apart from the Taliban." She continues:
There's so much focus on the Taliban and, of course, the pro-Islamist insurgency. What has to be remembered is that it is a deeply fragmented security environment where you have rival factions operating on a district-by-district [and] province-by-province basis.
Northern Afghanistan had been relatively peaceful until last week when an Afghan special forces operation killed the Taliban’s shadow governor, and over 20 fighters in the province. There is speculation that this was a possible retaliation for those losses.