There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. It may be mentioned that militants from the Islamic State group have a long history of attacking Afghanistan”s Shiite Muslim minority.
The deputy police chief for Kunduz province said that the “majority of them have been killed.” He also suspects that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.
“I assure our Shiite brothers that the Taliban are prepared to ensure their safety,” he said, adding that an investigation was underway.
The death toll would be the highest if confirmed since U.S. and NATO forces left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban took control of the country. Moreover, the Taliban have been targeted in a series of deadly IS attacks, including shooting ambushes and an explosion at a mosque in the capital of Kabul.
As per the report, the explosion took place during the weekly Friday prayer service at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque when it is typically crowded.
The chief Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Shiite mosque was the target and that a “large number” of worshippers were killed and wounded. He said Taliban special forces had arrived to the scene and were investigating the incident
The Taliban leadership has been grappling with a growing threat from the local Islamic State affiliate, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan. IS militants have ramped up attacks to target their rivals, including two deadly bombings in Kabul.
IS has also targeted Afghanistan”s religious minorities in attacks.
On August 26, at least 169 Afghans and 13 US military personnel were killed in a bombing that took place outside Kabul airport in the final days of the chaotic American pullout. The local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility of the attack.