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6 killed in mosque attack in Afghanistan's Herat province

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Six people have been killed after a gunman stormed a mosque in western Afghanistan, Al Jazeera reported, citing a government spokesperson.

Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman Abdul Mateen Qani said, "An unknown armed person shot at civilian worshippers in a mosque" at about 9 pm (16:30 GMT) on Monday in Andisheh town of Guzara district in Herat province.

"Six civilians were killed and one civilian was injured," he wrote on X, early on Tuesday morning, reported Al Jazeera.

The mosque belonged to Afghanistan's minority Shia community, according to TOLO News.

Moreover, a Imam, was also killed in the attack, local media reported.

Following the attack, the Iranian embassy in Kabul condemned the attack.

No group has claimed the attack yet, however, the regional chapter of ISIL (ISIS) is the largest security threat in Afghanistan and has frequently targeted Shia communities, reported Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, the Taliban government has pledged to protect religious and ethnic minorities since they returned to power in August 2021, but rights monitors said that they have done little to make good on that promise.

The most notorious attack linked to ISIL since the Taliban takeover was in 2022 when at least 53 people, including 46 girls and young women, were slain in the suicide bombing at an education centre in a Shia neighbourhood of Kabul. For which, the Taliban officials blamed ISIL for the attack.

However, Kabul's new rulers have claimed that they have eliminated ISIL from Afghanistan and are highly sensitive to suggestions the group has found safe haven in the country since the withdrawal of foreign forces, reported Al Jazeera.

Reportedly, the Taliban authorities have given death tolls lower than other sources in bombings and gun attacks, in an apparent attempt to downplay security threats, reported Al Jazeera.

A United Nations Security Council report stated that there had been a decrease in ISIL attacks in Afghanistan because of "counter-terrorism efforts by the Taliban".

But the report also said that ISIL still had "substantial" recruitment in the country and that the armed group had "the ability to project a threat into the region and beyond".

The ISIL's chapter spanning Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia claimed responsibility for the March attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Moscow, where over 140 people were killed, marking the deadliest attack in Russia in two decades, Al Jazeera reported. 

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