Authorities in Afghanistan report that an explosion outside a mosque on Friday killed a prominent pro-Taliban preacher as well as other onlookers.
The explosion that claimed the life of Mujeeb Rahman Ansari, a cleric, shook the region to the west of the country’s capital city of Herat.
According to Mahmood Rasoli, a spokesman for the Herat police, Mujib Rahman Ansari was killed while traveling to the mosque with several of his guards and onlookers.
Rasoli remained mum over the explosion’s toll, although Al Jazeera Media Network reported 14 fatalities while citing unidentified sources.
Posts on social media showed what seemed to be dead bodies laying around the mosque’s grounds.
Ansari had made a strident defense of the Taliban at a big gathering of thousands of academics and elders that the organization had hosted in late June, criticizing everyone who disagreed with their authority. Anyone who engages in “even the smallest act against our Islamic authority” must be beheaded, he commanded.
Abdul Nafi Takor, a spokesman for the Taliban, confirmed the blast but gave no other information. Takor is the spokesperson for the interior ministry in the Taliban government of Afghanistan, which took power in a brutal coup in August of last year.
The Taliban assert that since toppling the country’s previous Western-backed government, security has improved despite a recent spate of explosives, some of which targeted crowded mosques during prayers.
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