At least fourteen people were killed and 40 more wounded when suicide attackers targeted a Shia mosque in Afghan capital on Friday, a senior interior ministry official told TRT World.
Police say at least two of the attackers were killed
One of the attackers blew himself up in Qala e Fatehullah area of Kabul city, near the Hussainia mosque, as security forces were on alert for possible attacks during Muharram, the holiest month in Shia Muslims' religious calendar.
"The bomber was grazing a herd of sheep and before reaching his target he detonated himself 140 metres from Hussainia mosque," General Salim Almas, Kabul's criminal investigative director said.
TRT World's Bilal Sarwary reports from Kabul.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but following the attack the Taliban were quick to distance themselves from the bombing.
"Today's Kabul attack has nothing to do with us. After a thorough investigation we found out that we had no operation in Kabul, and this attacked is not linked to us," Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman said.
Kabul Emergency Hospital said in a tweet it received 33 wounded, six of them children.
In the past Taliban and Daesh militants have repeatedly targeted the minority Shia community.
A shopkeeper said that the suicide bomber blew himself to bits after he was identified by suspicious civilian guards who had set up a checkpoint about 200 metres from the mosque.
Afghanistan has trained and armed more than 400 civilians to help protect Shia mosques during the holy month of Muharram.
The attackers had apparently wanted to reach the mosque while worshippers were still inside the prayer hall.
Salim Shaheen, who had been inside the mosque at the time of the blast, said there were multiple casualties.
"We were busy offering our Friday prayers when a big bang happened and we stopped prayers and rushed out," Shaheen said.
Shaheen said "several people were killed and wounded". He and other bystanders took 15 people, including six children to hospital.
There had been fears militants would strike again as Shia Muslims prepare to commemorate Ashura, which falls this weekend and is the most important Shia observance.
It falls on the 10th day of Muharram, which is the mourning period for the seventh-century killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.
But in recent years, the sacred day has been marred by deadly violence.