Taliban militants have arrested a man named Abdul Hamid Sangaria in connection with a bomb blast at a Shi’ite mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Afghanistan’s northern province of Balkh.
“The mastermind of the attack on Mazar-e-Sharif was Abdul Hamid Sangaria,” Balkh provincial police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP. He has carried out several attacks in the past. But every time he would cover his body very quickly. This time we have arrested him in a special operation.
Two separate bomb blasts in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz on Thursday killed at least 23 people and injured dozens more. The condition of many of the injured is critical.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Afghanistan’s northwestern province of Balkh. It is a Shiite mosque and the Zohar prayers were going on in the mosque at the time of the blast.
The AFP report, citing local media and law enforcement officials in Afghanistan, said 12 people had been killed in the blast and 56 others had been taken to hospital. The condition of 32 of the injured is critical.
The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a mosque in the northern province of Kunduz. It killed 11 people.
Obaidullah Abedi, a spokesman for law enforcement in Kunduz, told AFP that a bicycle bomb had exploded at around noon on Thursday targeting a bus carrying mechanics working for the Taliban government. Four of the mechanics inside the bus were killed on the spot and 18 others were injured. Six more died after the injured were taken to hospital.
The Islamic State of Afghanistan (ISIA), the Afghan branch of the international militant group Islamic State, has already claimed responsibility for the attacks in two cities.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August last year. Then in the last few months, several deadly bombs have exploded in different cities of the country.
All of the bombings were carried out by IS and in almost every case targeted the Hazara community, the country’s minority Shia Muslim community.
Although the Taliban and IS-K are both radical Sunni Islamist groups, there is extreme animosity between the two groups. The main reason for this animosity is the ideological differences between the two organizations.
The Taliban is keen to see Afghanistan as a hardline Islamic state free from foreign influence. On the other hand, IS wants a caliphate to be established in Pakistan and the subcontinent from Turkey to Afghanistan.