A suicide attack outside a mosque filled with worshipers in the Afghan capital Thursday killed at least two people, officials reported, in the latest attack of its kind against Shiite Muslims.

The attack, part of wave of deadly strikes in Kabul in recent weeks, puts further pressure on President Ashraf Ghani’s U.S.-backed government, which is under rising public criticism for failing to prevent the increasing violence. It took place as worshipers had gathered for special late-evening Ramadan prayers the al-Zahra mosque in the mostly Shiite-dominated area of Dashte Barche, in southwestern Kabul, officials said.

There were conflicting accounts as to what happened — residents said the blast was triggered by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle outside the mosque, while police said it took place inside the structure’s kitchen.

Residents said gunfire could be heard from inside the mosque, possibly a sign that other attackers may have entered the complex to kill survivors after the blast.

Several hundred worshipers usually throng the al-Zahra mosque during observances, residents said.

An Interior Ministry spokesman, Najib Danesh, said one police officer and one civilian were killed in the explosion. But residents said the toll could be as high as 15.


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