Suicide bomber attack on mosque in Afghanistan leaves 47 dead

Ambulances rushed to the scene of the mosque explosion in Afghanistan

Suicide bombers have killed at least 47 people at a mosque in Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending Friday prayers.

The death toll has risen sharply after the attack on the Imam Barga mosque, a place of worship for Shiite Muslims, with dozens more wounded, according to a hospital official and a witness.

Just a week ago, a bombing by an Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Eyewitness Murtaza said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque, with two striking the security gate, and the other two targeting the congregation of worshippers.

He said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

The Islamic State (IS) group, which opposes the Taliban, views Shiite Muslims as apostates deserving of death.

It has been responsible for a number of bombings across the country since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August and has also targeted Taliban fighters.

Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said an investigation has been launched but did not provide further details.

The Taliban and IS are Sunni Muslims and follow a rigid interpretation of the Islamic law, but there are differences in ideology and they have fought each other on a number of occasions.

The Taliban has promised to restore peace and security after decades of war, and to protect Afghanistan's Shiite minority, who were persecuted during the last period of Taliban rule in the 1990s.

IS is more radical, and sees itself as part of a worldwide Islamic caliphate that includes branches in Iraq and Syria.