Afghanistan: Islamic State Claims Suicide Bombing at Kunduz Mosque, Says Attacker was a Uyghur Militant

The Islamic State (IS) has issued a statement through its official propaganda organ, Amaq News Agency, taking responsibility for a suicide bombing carried out at a mosque in Kunduz on Friday. The incident appears to be the Islamic State Khurasan Province’s (ISKP) deadliest attack on Afghan soil since the August 26th suicide operation targeting a crowd near Kabul airport. The bombing is currently estimated to have killed 46 people and wounded 143, marking the latest incident in the Islamic State’s campaign of violence against minority groups in the region. In this instance, the victims were members of Kunduz’s Hazara community who were attending a Shia Muslim mosque for Friday prayers.

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The attack comes as part of ISKP’s protracted guerilla campaign against the Taliban and serves, in part, to undermine the newly formed government’s rule and legitimacy. It is also the Islamic State’s latest follow-through on its running promise to continue striking ethnic/religious minority groups in order to punish the Taliban for its accused nationalism and perceived integration of said communities.  


The IS statement notes that the suicide bomber was a Uyghur militant (“Muhammad al-Uyghuri”) and alleges that “the Taliban has pledged to expel and oust [Uyghurs] at request of … China and its anti-Muslim policies there.” The description of the perpetrator’s ethnic identity and the inclusion of explicit anti-China messaging is quite notable, as it is consistent with the developing and established narratives purveyed by the Islamic State and its regional ISKP network.

IS’s Amaq media release draws upon grievances relating both to China’s domestic security measures in Xinjiang as well as its working foreign relations with the Taliban. The Chinese government is viewed as an influential supporter of the Taliban and an oppressive force in the region, and IS has made a concerted propaganda effort to frame the organization as an ally to, and even proxy for, the alleged great power enemies of Islam such as China, the United States, and Russia.