Taliban suicide bomber kills 7 Afghans at Baghlan mosque
A Taliban suicide bomber killed seven people, including a local police commander, in an attack today at a mosque in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan.
The suicide bomber detonated outside a mosque in the village of Qashlan as worshipers left a service that celebrated the Eid ul Adha holiday and were waiting for a funeral procession. Afghan Interior Ministry Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter that seven civilians were killed in the bombing. But according to Pajhwok Afghan News, at least seven policemen, including a police commander named Abdul, died in the attack. A man who lost two sons in the blast claimed that 17 people were killed, including Abdul, another police commander known as Rahmatullah, and several civilians.
The Taliban claimed the attack on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad. Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said that "a martyrdom-seeking Mujahid blew up his explosive vest" and killed a "top-level commander of the puppets, known as Abdul Afghan Kush (Afghan killer)" and six others, including "two other high-ranking commanders." The Taliban refer to Afghans who work with the government and the Coalition as "puppets."
The Taliban have carried out numerous attacks at mosques in the past, including the assassination of Kunduz's governor in the province of Takhar on Oct. 8, 2010.
Today's attack occurred just one day after Taliban emir Mullah Omar released an Eid statement voicing concern over the perception that the Taliban were killing civilians in "martyrdom attacks and other operations." Omar called on provincial shadow governors to create mechanisms to investigate claims of civilian casualties and punish those guilty.
Omar's statement also advised that civilians should stay away from American forces so they are not killed in attacks.
"The common folk must also facilitate Mujahideen in averting civilian losses and sufferings," the statement said. "They should avoid moving in close proximity to Americans that patrol in villages and countryside and should actively put to practice the precautionary measures announced by Mujahideen so no harm will reach them during the impending attacks of the invaders."
Although the Taliban have publicly claimed they seek to limit civilian casualties, a secretive directive issued by Mullah Omar last year shows the Taliban have no qualms about attacking civilians, including women, who cooperate with the Afghan government or Coalition forces.