An explosion outside a mosque in the center of Kabul killed at least three people on Sunday, a Taliban spokesman said, underscoring the challenge of maintaining security for the country’s new rulers after decades of waging war.

The blast struck around 3:30 p.m. outside the Eid Gah mosque in central Kabul during funerary prayers for the mother of a high-ranking Taliban official, said Qari Sayeed Khosti, a spokesman for the minister of interior. At least two people were also wounded in the attack.

“I heard a huge blast,” said Hasibullah, 45, a Kabul resident who was on his way to get groceries near the mosque when it was hit on Sunday. “Everyone was in a panic.” By early evening the pavement outside the mosque had already been cleaned of the victims’ blood.

No group claimed responsibility for the explosion, but it follows a trend of similar attacks carried out by the Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan. The terrorist group has ramped up its campaign of violence in the weeks since American-led troops withdrew from Afghanistan and the Western-backed government was toppled.

said on Twitter that a unit of the Taliban had launched an operation against a hide-out of the ISIS affiliate in District 17 of Kabul. The operation was successful, with the hide-out destroyed and all ISIS fighters in it killed, he added.

The Taliban’s tenuous support in the capital is predicated on a promise to provide security after four decades of war and violence. That security is backed by the enforcement of hard-line religious laws, which includes public executions and amputations for menial offenses.


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