A young Afghan suicide bomber (C) is captured by security forces in Baghlan, north Afghanistan, Oct. 26, 2012. In the northern Afghan province of Faryab, another suicide bomber on Friday blew himself up near a mosque killing at least 41 people and injuring over 34 others. (Xinhua/Sahil)
KABUL, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 41 people were killed and over 34 others, including the provincial police chief, were injured as a suicide bomber blew his explosive up near a mosque in Maimana, the provincial capital of Faryab in northern Afghanistan, on Friday, an official said.
"A suicide bomber targeted a mosque while people were leaving the mosque building after the Eid-ul-Adah prayers at around 9 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) Friday in Maimana city, killing 41 people and injuring 34 others," deputy to provincial governor Abdul Satar Bariz told Xinhua.
The dead included 23 members of the Afghan National Police (ALP) , Bariz said, adding that the provincial police chief Abdul Khaliq Aqsay was among the wounded.
The bomber masked himself in a police uniform as security was tighten by the ALP and the high-ranking provincial officials were attending the prayers in Eid Gah mosque, the biggest mosque in the city, Bariz said.
However, local media Tolo News reported that the police chief of Faryab was killed in the attack, citing a member of Afghan parliament from Faryab province,
Bariz said that the number of the casualties could rise as many of the wounded were said to be in critical conditions.
The blast caused a plume of grey smoke to rise above the scene.
The wounded, along with the bodies of the dead, have been taken to provincial capital hospitals by police and civilian cars, the official said, adding that those in critical conditions will be transferred to neighboring Balkh province.
The Muslims' biggest three-day festival of Eid-ul-Adha falls on Friday, Oct. 26, which is also known as the festival of sacrifice and is being celebrated worldwide on the 10th day of Duhl-Hijja, the last month of the Islamic year.
After the special prayers of the festival, Afghans visit their relatives. They also butcher cattle or sheep and distribute the meat to the poor.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the bombing, though the bombings bear the hallmark of the Taliban insurgent group.
The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group, which has been waging an insurgency of more than one decade, launched an annual spring offensive dubbed "Al-Farooq" from May 3 against Afghan forces and about the NATO-led troops stationed in the country.
The Taliban has warned the civilians to stay away from official gatherings, military convoys and centers regarded as the legitimate targets by militants besides warning people against supporting government and foreign troops.
Despite the weak presence of Taliban in relatively peaceful Faryab province, which is 425 km northwest of capital Kabul, a number of Taliban-led attacks took place there over the past couple of years.
A total of nine civilians, including a member of provincial council named Amanullah Shahabzai, were killed and eight others were wounded in a bomb attack in Faryab on May 14, and three U.S. soldiers with the coalition, four Afghan policemen and six civilians were killed and 24 others were wounded in a Taliban suicide bombing in Maimana on April 4 this year.
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