KABUL: A Taliban police official says at least 100 people have been killed and wounded in a mosque explosion targeting Shiite Muslims in northern Afghanistan.
Dost Mohammad Obaida says the "majority of them have been killed."
The blast was suicide attack, a Taliban official has claimed.
There was no immediate claim for the blast in Kunduz province, but Islamic State militants have a long history of attacking Afghanistan's Shiite Muslim minority.
If confirmed, the death toll in Friday's attack would be the highest in an attack by militants since U.S. and NATO troops left Afghanistan at the end of August and the Taliban took control of the country.
Residents of Kunduz, the capital of a province of the same name, told AFP the blast hit a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, the most important of the week for Muslims.
Zalmai Alokzai, a local businessman who rushed to Kunduz Provincial Hospital to check whether doctors needed blood donations, described horrific scenes.
"I saw more than 40 dead bodies," he told AFP. "Ambulances were going back to the incident scene to carry the dead."
An international aid worker at the MSF hospital in the city told AFP there were fears the death toll could rise.
"Hundreds of people are gathered at the main gate of the hospital and crying for their relatives but armed Taliban guys are trying to prevent gatherings in case another explosion is planned," he said.
- Frightened crowds -
Graphic images shared on social media, which could not immediately be verified, showed several bloodied bodies lying on the floor.
Another video showed men shepherding people, including women and children, away from the scene. Frightened crowds thronged the streets.
Kunduz's location makes it a key transit point for economic and trade exchanges with Tajikistan.
It was the scene of fierce battles as the Taliban fought their way back into power this year.
Often targeted by Sunni extremists, Shiite Muslims have suffered some of Afghanistan's most violent assaults, with rallies bombed, hospitals targeted and commuters ambushed.
Shiites make up roughly 20 percent of the Afghan population. Many of them are Hazara, an ethnic group that has been heavily persecuted in Afghanistan for decades.
(With inputs from AP, AFP)