(KATAKAMI) – A bomb attack inside a mosque killed the governor of Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province and 15 others as they attended Friday prayers, the local police chief said.
The attack on governor Mohammed Omar happened in neighbouring Takhar province, where he had a home. At least 20 people were wounded.
“The situation is chaos, we do not know whether it was a suicide attack or whether the bomb was already planted in the mosque,” Shah Jahan Noori, police chief for Takhar province, told Reuters.
It was the most serious attack since parliamentary elections last month, when a wave of assaults killed at least 17 people as the Taliban vowed to disrupt polling.
The war in Afghanistan, now in its tenth year, is at its bloodiest since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban.
The insurgency has spread to northern parts of the country, that until recently were relatively peaceful, from its heartland in the south and east.
Attacks during Friday prayers are relatively rare in Afghanistan. In July, a candidate for parliamentary elections was killed by a bomb planted in a mosque in eastern Khost province.
More than 2,000 foreign troops have been killed since the war began — over half in the last two years — and U.S. President Barack Obama and his NATO allies are under pressure at home over the increasingly unpopular war.