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Isis claims responsibility for Pakistan mosque attack

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Friday’s bomb attack at a mosque frequented by senior Taliban figures in Pakistan, in which at least 15 people were killed and 18 injured.

The blast targeted the mosque during evening prayers in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.

The mosque is frequented by senior Taliban figures including former Oruzgan governor Mawlawi Abdul Hakeem, though he was not present at the time of the explosion.

The mosque’s chief cleric and a police officer were among those killed in the blast.

But Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi said that no leader from the group was present.

Officials condemned the attack as an act of terrorism.

“Those who targeted innocents in a mosque can never be true Muslims,” said General Qamar Javed Bajwa, head of the Pakistan army.

Isis and the Taliban have been fighting for control of large swathes of Afghan territory in a conflict that has raged since 2015. 

They are seeking to exploit the deteriorating security situation in the country, with the Taliban continuing to launch bomb attacks despite being engaged in peace talks with the US.

Washington has come under sharp criticism for supporting the Taliban in its fight against its jihadist rivals. 

As battle raged between the Islamist groups last year in the northern province of Jawzjan, US forces backed the Taliban as a lesser of two evils.

US General John Nicholson said at the time: “We are going fully at Isis. And we also note that the Taliban is fighting Isis and we encourage that because Isis needs to be destroyed.”

It is known that Taliban fighters cross the border into Pakistan to seek sanctuary and to regroup. 

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