Afghanistan: Top pro-Taliban cleric among 18 killed; several wounded in blast at Herat mosque

Kabul, AfghanistanEdited By: Srishti Singh SisodiaUpdated: Sep 02, 2022, 05:37 PM IST

Top cleric killed by mosque blast in Afghanistan's Herat. Photograph:(Twitter)

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"Mujib Rahman Ansari, with some of his guards and civilians, have been killed on their way to the mosque," said Herat's police spokesperson Mahmood Rasoli. 

Multiple casualties were feared in blasts outside a mosque in Herat, Afghanistan just before prayers on Friday (September 2), local media reported. "At least 18 people were martyred in the incident and 23 others were wounded," Hameedullah Motawakel, spokesman for the governor of Herat province, told reporters.

Citing local police, news agency Reuters reported that the blast killed a high-profile pro-Taliban cleric, his guards as well as civilians. 

As per the report, the blast that occurred outside the Gazargah Mosque just before Friday prayers killed pro-Taliban cleric imam Mujib ur Rahman Ansari.

"Mujib Rahman Ansari, with some of his guards and civilians, have been killed on their way toward the mosque," said Herat's police spokesperson Mahmood Rasoli. 

Earlier reports did not specify how many casualties the blast caused but WION's correspondent Anas Mallick had reported initially that at least 15 people were killed. 

The Taliban say they have improved security in the country since taking power around a year ago, but there have been several blasts in recent months, some of them targeting busy mosques during prayers. 

A prominent Afghan journalist Bilal Sarwary tweeted that the pro-Taliban cleric in Herat was killed in successive explosions in the Ghazargah mosque. 

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Sarwary mentioned that Abdullah Azzam, deputy secretary of economic affairs of the prime minister, wrote on his Twitter page about an hour ago that maulvi Ansari and Mullah Baradar are also in the province. 

The journalist quoted a local resident as saying that there were two explosions. The resident said, "I saw dozens of dead bodies inside the mosque." 

Local residents in Herat also told Sarwary, "Hundreds of people attend Friday prayers and supporters of Maulvi Ansari had gathered inside the mosque." 

A medical source at one hospital told Sarwary, "We have no space left in the morgue in the hospital. We have very few doctors. We don’t have enough blood. We have received 200 wounded." 

So far, there was no claim of responsibility for Friday's blast. 


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