A suicide bomber targeted a memorial service in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, officials said.
A former Taliban police official was among those killed and at least 30 people were wounded in the explosion near Nabawi Mosque, according to Abdul Nafi Takor, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the interior ministry. He added that the casualty numbers could rise further as more information becomes available.
The Badakhshan provincial governor’s office later said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and that “several of the seriously wounded were transferred by military helicopters to Kabul for further treatment.”
The memorial service was held for Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the deputy governor of Badakhshan who was killed in a car bombing on Tuesday in Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan,. That attack also killed the deputy governor’s driver and wounded 10 other people.
Moazuddin Ahmadi, the Taliban official in charge of information and culture, said that Safiullah Samim a former Taliban police chief in Baghlan was among those killed in Thursday’s attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the Islamic State group — a top rival of the Taliban — had claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s car bombing.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack, saying in a tweet that the bombing of mosques is an act of “terrorism” and goes “against human and Islamic standards”
On Wednesday, several senior Taliban officials attended Ahmadi’s funeral, along with hundreds of residents of Faizabad.
The Taliban chief of the military, Fasihuddin Fitrat, denounced the IS attacks in Badakhshan and asked people to cooperate with Taliban security forces and report suspicious activities in their areas.
In December, a car bombing killed Badakhshan’s provincial police chief as he was on his way to work. The IS regional affiliate — known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province — said at the time that it had carried out that attack. IS said it had parked an explosive-laden car on the road and detonated it when the police chief was close by.