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Explosion at Kunduz mosque, followed by blast in Kabul

The two explosions came one day after multiple attacks on Thursday.


22 Apr 2022

On Friday April 22, an explosion took place in the Chinar Sayed Jalal area in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz.

The bombing, allegedly caused by a suicide attacker, took place at ‘Mawlawi Sikandar' Khanqah - reportedly a Sufi place of worship that is also used as a mosque and madrasa by Sunni residents. Reports state that the blast occured during Friday prayers.

Sufism is a mystical order of Islam that has been practised in the region for centuries. ISIS regard Sufis - as well as Shia Muslims - as heretics. AW investigators are working on verifying the exact targets of the explosion.

According to the BBC, officials say 33 people were killed in the attack and 43 others injured, including children.

Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary tweeted that local sources reported at least 34 deaths and 47 wounded, while the Imam Sahib district hospital has allegedly stated that at least 60 people were killed and at least 30 wounded. Afghan Witness (AW) investigators were not able to conduct a casualty count, however they did verify and geolocate the incident.

On Thursday, a bomb tore through a Shia mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, reportedly killing at least 31 people and wounding 87. Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed the attack in Mazar-i-Sharif, though the one in Kunduz has not been claimed at the time of writing.

AW investigators were able to geolocate the footage of the aftermath of the explosion south of the city of Imam Saheb in Kunduz province.

Figure 1: Geolocation of footage showing the aftermath of the explosion.

Map: Location of the Khanqah explosion, Imam Saheb, Kunduz.

The attack is the second in Kunduz province in just two days. On Thursday, a vehicle was bombed near Kunduz airport, which was later claimed by ISKP.

In an official response, posted on social media, the Spokesperson of the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid stated: “We are saddened to learn that an explosion took place in a mosque in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz this afternoon. Five civilians, including children, were martyred and four others were injured. We condemn this crime, wish paradise to the martyrs and speedy recovery to the wounded, and express our deepest sympathies to the bereaved.” Further stating: “​​The perpetrators of these incidents are seditionists and evil elements and serious efforts are being made to arrest and punish them. God willing”.

Notably, reported casualties were far greater than those mentioned in the official response above, though the latter may have been based on earlier figures.

Kabul blast

Shortly after the explosion in Kunduz, reports emerged of an explosion in Kabul on Darulaman road, near the area where the Dunya University and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is located.

Amaaj News claimed that unnamed sources told their reporters that the target was a Taliban vehicle. Their source adds that a landmine was planted on the side of the ranger vehicle.

According to Tolo News, the Taliban commander of the 7th Police District claimed that no one was injured in the explosion.

AW investigators were able to geolocate the explosion:

Figure 2: Geolocation of the explosion in Kabul on Darulaman Road.

Figure 3: Geolocation of visible damage after the explosion.

News reports indicated the explosion was caused by a landmine, while further reports suggested the explosive used was a Magnetic Improvised Explosive Device (MIED). The cause of the explosion is still being verified by AW investigators.

ISKP have claimed the attack and, in their statement, claim that the blast killed five Taliban members – though as mentioned previously, no casualties were reported, or further identified by AW.

Figure 4: ISKP claim of Kabul attack.

On Thursday, the militant group claimed to be behind four attacks that took place across Afghanistan - in Kabul, Kunduz, Mazar-i-Sharif and Nangarhar.

AW continues to montior ISKP's activity.

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