Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned a suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Afghanistan’s province of Paktia that killed at least 39 people on Friday.
In a statement on Friday night, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi expressed condolences to the Afghan government and nation and families of victims of the bombing attack.
“The imported terrorism imposed on the Afghan nation seeks (to foment) division by creating blind insecurity among the Afghan nation,” he deplored.
The Iranian spokesman also expressed confidence that Afghanistan will be able to “thwart this ominous plot” and the masterminds and perpetrators of such vicious crimes will be held accountable.
Thirty-nine people were killed in the bombing and the death toll may climb further, police and government officials said on Friday.
Two burka-clad terrorists attacked the mosque in the city of Gardez in the province of Paktia where more than 100 people had gathered to offer prayers, said Raz Mohammad Mandozai, the police chief of Paktia.
At least 80 people were injured when the men struck with guns and explosives at the Khawaja Hassan mosque.
Gardez city hospital reported receiving at least 50 adults and 20 children wounded in the attack.
Abdullah Hazrat, a senior government official, said the terrorists opened fire on the worshippers and one blew himself up. Security guards stationed at the mosque gunned down the other terrorist.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Friday attack but Daesh terrorist group has previously claimed responsibility for attacks on Shia mosques in Afghanistan.
The attack underlines the country’s dire security situation after four decades of war and 17 years of US intervention. The Daesh increasingly claims responsibility for attacks on civilian targets even as pressure builds for peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
Reuters and Tasnim News Agency contributed to this story.