ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Friday. The attack targeted a mosque packed full of Shia worshippers and killed at least 72 people, wounding over 140 more, the Taliban said.
In a statement on the attack, ISIS-K identified the bomber as an Uyghur Muslim, the ethnic group that populates China’s Xinjiang province. ISIS-K said the blast targeted both Shia Muslims and the Taliban over rumors that they agreed to expel Uyghurs from Afghanistan on behalf of China.
As the US was withdrawing from Afghanistan, China hosted a Taliban delegation and requested that the group sever ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Uyghur Muslim group that Beijing accuses of being behind terrorist attacks in Xinjiang.
ETIM was designated as a terrorist organization by the US up until last year. After ETIM was removed from the terror list, the Trump administration said there was no “credible evidence” that the group still existed, but in 2018, the US carried out airstrikes in Afghanistan that a US military official said targeted ETIM.
It’s not clear how the Taliban reacted to China’s request, and there have been no reports of Uyghurs being expelled from Afghanistan.
The mosque bombing marks the biggest ISIS-K attack in Afghanistan since the August 26th suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that killed over 100 Afghans and 13 US troops. The Taliban have been waging a campaign against ISIS-K, carrying out several raids on the terrorist group’s hideouts near Kabul.