KABUL, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai and top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. John R. Allen strongly condemned the suicide bombing in a mosque in northern Afghanistan that killed at least 36 people earlier Friday.
"President Hamid Karzai has strongly condemned the suicide attack in Maimana city this morning and described people who were behind the bombing as the enemies of humanity," the president's office said in a statement.
The statement said that 36 people were killed and 30 others were wounded in the blast which occurred at around 9 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) in Faryab province 425 km northwest of Kabul.
Earlier in the day, deputy provincial governor Abdul Satar Bariz told Xinhua that the explosion left 41 people dead, including 23 policemen with the Afghan National Police (ALP), and 34 others wounded.
"The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) condemns with grave conviction the suicide attack carried out this morning at the Eid Gah Mosque in Maimana, Faryab Province. Dozens were killed or injured in the explosion as they left the mosque after the opening prayers of the holy observation of Eid al-Adha," the ISAF said in a press release issued here.
"I condemn this heinous act, which is an affront to human life, to religious devotion and to the peaceful aspirations of the Afghan people," said Gen. John R. Allen, the ISAF commander.
"I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured, and the resources of ISAF to help however we can. This violence undertaken at a place of worship, and during Eid, once again shows the insurgency's callous hypocrisy and disregard for religion and faith."
"In my recent remarks to commemorate this most holy Muslim observance of Eid-ul -Adha, I spoke of the admiration I hold for the Afghan people's desire for peace. Today's tragic attack makes this feeling all the more poignant as we -- the Coalition and the Afghan people -- stand together in tireless pursuit of peace," Allen added.
The attack occurred shortly after the Eid-ul-Adah prayers.
The bomber masked himself in a police uniform as security was tighten by the ALP. High ranking provincial officials were also attending the prayers in Eid Gah mosque, the biggest mosque in the city, Bariz said.
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.
Local TV footage shows the damaged buildings and cars on the blast site.
Afghan security forces sealed off the scene shortly after the blast while police vehicles and civilian cars evacuated the victims to the city's hospitals.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far but Taliban militants have been behind most suicide and roadside bomb attacks across the war-ravaged country.
However, the Taliban insurgent group, which announced the launching of an annual spring offensive from May 3 against Afghan and NATO forces, has not to make comments yet.
A total of 1,145 Afghan civilians were killed and 1,954 injured in conflicts in the first six months of 2012, 15 percent down in overall civilian casualties compared with the same period of 2011, according to a United Nations report released in Kabul in August.
The IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices and suicide attack alone accounted for 53 percent of all civilian deaths.
The UN report attributed 80 percent of the civilian deaths to the attacks of Taliban insurgents and other armed groups opposing the Afghan government, another 10 percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces and 10 percent were unattributed in the first six months this year.
Due to the weak presence of Taliban in relatively peaceful Faryab province, only a handful of Taliban-led attacks took place there over the past year.
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.
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry has also condemned the suicide attack in the northern part of the insurgency-hit country, according to media reports.
The ministry said in a statement issued in Islamabad earlier Friday said that the government of Pakistan conveys its deepest condolences to the government and people of Afghanistan on this tragic incident. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims."
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry also said the two countries face the common threat of terrorism, and Pakistan is committed to work closely with Afghanistan to eliminate this scourge.
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. Full Story
KABUL, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 32 people were killed and 30 others injured as a suicide bomber blew his explosive up near a mosque in Maimana, the provincial capital of northern Afghan province of Faryab on Friday, an official said. Full Story
KABUL, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 20 people were killed and 30 others injured as suicide bomber blew his explosive up near a mosque in Maimana, the provincial capital of northern Afghan province of Faryab, during the Eid al-Adha holiday on Friday, an official said. Full Story