KABUL: Six people were killed when a suicide bomber posing as a shepherd blew himself up near a mosque in Kabul on Friday, police said.
At least 20 people were wounded in the attack, which happened in the north of the Afghan capital as worshippers were inside Hussainia mosque for Friday prayers.
“The bomber was grazing a herd of sheep and before reaching his target he detonated himself 140 metres from Hussainia mosque,” General Salim Almas, Kabul’s criminal investigative director, told AFP.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told AFP that five civilians were killed and 20 others were wounded. Three suspects have been detained.
Kabul’s Emergency hospital tweeted that it had received 33 casualties including six children.
Six dead were among the casualties.
A photo posted on Twitter purportedly taken at the scene of the attack shows a man lying on the ground, covered in blood. A severed leg belonging to someone else is beside him.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but following the attack the Taliban were quick to distance themselves from the bombing.
“Today’s Kabul attack has nothing to do with us. After a thorough investigation we found out that we had no operation in Kabul, and this attack is not linked to us,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told AFP.
Salim Shaheen, who was inside the mosque at the time of the explosion, told AFP there were multiple casualties.
“We were busy offering our Friday prayers when a big bang happened and we stopped prayers and rushed out,” Shaheen said.
Shaheen said “several people were killed and wounded”. He and other bystanders took 15 people including six children to hospital.
There had been fears insurgents would strike as Muslims prepare to commemorate Ashura.