At least 27 soldiers were killed and another 50 injured when a bomb exploded inside a mosque at an Afghan military base just as prayers were coming to a close on Friday, according to officials.
President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack in a statement as “anti-Islamic and inhumane” and demanded an investigation into how exactly army security had been breached.
Its unclear whether the blast was triggered remotely or set-off by a suicide bomber inside the house of worship, located in the volatile eastern Khost province. It was just the latest deadly attack in the area, targeted by the Taliban on a near-daily basis.
The explosion comes just days after a suicide bomber killed 55 religious scholars gathered in Kabul to celebrate the birth of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The Taliban denied involvement in the bombing, which also injured nearly 100 people.
No group has yet taken responsibility for the mosque attack at the Afghan military base, according to officials.
“There were soldiers lying everywhere and the smoke was so thick it was difficult to see,” said spokesman Abdullah, who like most Afghans, uses only one name.
The defense ministry deployed four helicopters to the Ismail Khel district where the attack occurred to transport those with more severe injuries to area medical centers.
Sakhi Sardar, head of the hospital in Khost, said most of the patients they’ve received from the blast are being treated for severe shrapnel wounds.
A separate explosion unfolded in Pakistan Friday, with the blast tearing through an open-air food market in the Northwestern town of Klaya. The death toll has climbed to more than two dozen, with scores more injured.
With News Wire Services