Blast hits Kabul mosque, killing civilians

A blast at a mosque in Kabul killed several civilians Sunday as prayers were held for the recently deceased mother of a Taliban spokesman, Taliban officials said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack - the most serious in the Afghan capital since the withdrawal of U.S. forces in August.

Several other civilians were hurt in the explosion on a main road near the entrance to the mosque, officials said.

Taliban commanders were seen giving blood at a hospital treating the wounded. Media access was tightly controlled.

The attack underlined the mounting challenges facing the Taliban as they grapple to prevent a complete collapse of Afghanistan's war-battered economy, with millions threatened by famine as winter approaches.

Hours after Sunday's blast, local media reported heavy exchanges of gunfire to the north of the city. Residents contacted confirmed they had heard explosions and gunfire. Reuters was not immediately able to determine who was involved.

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