Afghanistan mosque attack toll rises to 62, says official

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The death toll from an attack on a mosque in Afghanistan during Friday prayers has risen to 62, authorities in the eastern Nangarhar province said.

The toll “has risen to 62 dead and 33 injured,” said a spokesman for the local governor.

The blast took place in Haska Mina district in Nangarhar province. Multiple explosions at a mosque in eastern Afghanistan collapsed the roof on worshippers during Friday prayers, killing at least 62 and wounding more than 100, officials said.

Both the Taliban and ISIS are active in Nangarhar province. The Taliban have condemned the attack and blamed it on the ISIS extremist group.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for Nangarhar province’s governor, said bombs had been placed inside the mosque in the Jawdara area of Haska Mena district.

“People using an excavator are still working to bring out the bodies and injured from under the roof,” said Sohrab Qaderi, a member of the provincial council in Nangarhar, adding that the death toll was likely to rise.

Malik Mohammadi Gul Shinwari, a tribal elder from the area, said that the mosque had been destroyed.

“It was a heartbreaking scene I witnessed,” Shinwari said.

The blast came after the United Nations released a new report on Thursday saying that an “unprecedented” number of civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan from July to September.

Civilians have long borne the brunt of violence in Afghanistan’s conflict, and the UN called the casualties “totally unacceptable.”

The UN laid the blame mainly at the feet of anti-government elements such as ISIS and the Taliban, though it also documented an alarming rise in casualties caused by pro-government forces.