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At least 27 killed in blast at Afghan army base

Afghan National Army at the Kabul Military Training Center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

An explosion inside a mosque at an Afghan military base in the volatile eastern province of Khost has killed at least 27 people and wounded 50, officials say.

The blast occurred on November 23 in the Ismail Khel district of Khost. The victims had all gathered to attend Friday Prayers, officials said.

Abed Ahmad Zia, a provincial government official, said there were fears the death toll could rise further.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, but Khost is a stronghold of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.

The Taliban, however, has in the past decried attacks on religious gatherings.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, calling it “anti-Islamic and inhumane.”

In a statement, Ghani urged a swift investigation into the bombing and said he wanted to know how security at the army base was breached, calling for those responsible to be punished.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.