Afghan suicide attack kills eight near mosque

The bomber attacked soon after prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha had finished.

Last Updated: Nov 06, 2011, 18:27 PM IST

Kabul: At least eight civilians were killed and 15 others injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near a mosque in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, the interior ministry said.

The bomber attacked soon after prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha had finished, ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

"We strongly condemn this. This is yet another act of violence against civilians, on this important day," he said.

Preliminary investigations indicated the attack was the work of the Taliban, he said.

Another attempted suicide bomber in the same place was arrested before being able to ignite the explosives, Sediqqi said.

The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility.

In a statement emailed on Friday, before the Eid holiday, the Taliban reiterated its threats against foreign troops, but in an unusual step, said insurgents should try to avoid killing civilians.

If it were "irrefutably proven that the blood of innocent Muslims is spilled by ... negligence" then their killer should be penalized according to Islamic law, the statement said.

Violence in the once-peaceful northern provinces has grown more visible with a series of high-profile attacks in the past year as insurgents seek to demonstrate their reach beyond the southern heartland.

Attacks have included the killing of seven UN workers in Mazar-i-Sharif in April, and the assassination of the police chief for the north of the country earlier this year.

Despite the presence of more than 130,000 foreign soldiers, across Afghanistan violence is at its worst since the start of the start of the US-led military campaign in 2001, according to the United Nations.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) says there has recently been a fall in the number of attacks by insurgents, but that data excludes attacks that kill only civilians, and attacks on Afghan security forces operating without international troops.

On Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ruled out an early resumption of talks with the Taliban after a summit meeting with Pakistan.

Afghanistan accuses Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of supporting Taliban insurgents who have launched a string of attacks in recent months as the United States and its allies prepare to pull out most combat troops by the end of 2014.

Bureau Report