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1 of the multiple blasts in Afghanistan hit worshippers in a mosque


Multiple deadly bomb blasts rocked Afghanistan today, and there were attacks on schools earlier this week. It shatters a relative lull in violence that had held since the Taliban seized power eight months ago. NPR's Diaa Hadid reports from Islamabad.

DIAA HADID, BYLINE: The worst attack targeted worshippers in a mosque in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Footage broadcast by local news outlets suggested the extent of the calamity.


HADID: One man weeps as worshippers and bystanders carry out casualties from the Seh Dokan mosque. Yet another shows men running with gurneys laden with wounded people into a hospital. In a statement, ISIS said it had targeted Shiites - using a pejorative - by placing a suitcase stuffed with explosives inside the mosque. But one resident, who only uses his first name, Momand, tells NPR that the mosque inside a historic bazaar was used by merchants of different sects.

MOMAND: (Non-English language spoken).

HADID: Speaking to NPR's Kabul producer Fazelminallah Qazizai, he says Sunnis and Shiites use different corners of the two-story mosque to pray. He says it's always crowded. There were other blasts across Afghanistan - a bomb left outside a school in a Shiite-dominated area of Kabul. A roadside blast wounded two children. There was another in the northern city of Kunduz - yet another in the southern province of Kandahar. It came after bombs struck two schools in a Shiite-dominated part of Kabul earlier this week. They killed six people. Adam Weinstein, a research fellow specializing in Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, says when the Taliban seized power in August, they assured Afghans they would enjoy security, however relative, after decades of conflict.

ADAM WEINSTEIN: This is a serious issue for the Taliban because they promised security for the Afghan people. That's their one and only claim to legitimacy. And if they can't provide security, it's unclear what else they're providing in terms of governance.

HADID: So these attacks aren't just shattering any hopes of safety for Afghans, particularly Shiites. It's the first real crisis of governance for the Taliban. Diaa Hadid, NPR News, Islamabad. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Diaa Hadid chiefly covers Pakistan and Afghanistan for NPR News. She is based in NPR's bureau in Islamabad. There, Hadid and her team were awarded a Murrow in 2019 for hard news for their story on why abortion rates in Pakistan are among the highest in the world.