Officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 58 people and injured hundreds more in Kabul, the Afghan capital, on Tuesday after detonating explosives outside a packed Shiite mosque as hordes of worshippers observed a religious holiday.
According to eyewitnesses, the blast occurred at around 11:45 a.m. local time when hundreds of mourners were observing in a shrine the 10-day annual Ashura mourning rite, the holiest of the Shiite religious calendar, which commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, in 680 AD.
“The enemies tried to spread fear in this important holiday in the city,” police official Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai explained to CNN.
Afghan Health Ministry spokesman Kargar Norughli said that some hospitals in the area are overwhelmed with the number of wounded and that the death toll could only be expected to rise.
“Many others who were killed or injured are shifted to military hospitals, as we know, but there is no exact figure of those killed and wounded with our office,” Kargar said, adding “the latest and final figure of the casualties will be released to media very soon.”
The attacks, which no group or individual has claimed responsibility for thus far, came a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned that the Taliban could make a comeback as the country struggles with security a decade after a U.S.-led coalition ousted the hardline militia from power.
“If we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before September 11, 2001,” Karazai told an international aid conference in Bonn, Germany.