QUETTA - At least seven people were martyred and 22 injured on Friday when a bomb exploded inside a mosque-seminary in Quetta’s Kuchlak area during noon prayers, TV channels reported.

Brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was reportedly among the dead and his son among the injured.

According to police sources, people were offering Friday prayers when the blast occurred in Killi Qasim Khan Wazirabad area near Kuchlak, 25 km away from provincial capital, leaving seven people, including imam of the mosque, martyred and 22 injured.

Civil Hospital’s spokesman said four dead bodies were brought to the hospital by rescue team while the injured victims’ treatment was under way.

He said three of the martyrs were identified as Muhammad Khan, Hamdullah, Reheem Gull while another’s identity could not be ascertained so far.

The hospital spokesman mentioned the names of the injured including Izatullah, Haji Murad, Muhammad Qasim, Qudratullah, Hikmatullah, Haji Nida, Waheedullah, Haji Akbar, Abdul Jabbar, Abdul Hakeem, Agha Muhammad, Siddiq, Abdul Rehman, Izatullah, Haytullah, Abdul Hayan, Reheemuddin, Saeddin, Ghulam Sarwar, Rehmatullah, Anyatullah and one of the injured’s identity could not be established.

Six of the injured were reported to be in serious condition.

Security forces including police, Levies force, Frontier Corps and bomb disposal squad team reached the site and cordoned off the entire area and started investigation.

Officials believe the blast was carried out with an improvised explosive device (IED) that contained around eight to 10 kilograms of explosives which was planted inside the mosque. TV footages showed the prayer hall was strewn with pieces of broken windows and glasses, blood-soaked caps, and other belongings.

According to Reuters, brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among the four people killed in the bomb blast , two Taliban sources told the news agency.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast which comes as the Taliban and the United States are in the final stages of negotiations on an agreement letting America end its longest war and withdraw its troops from neighbouring Afghanistan.

Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada was not in the mosque when the bomb went off but his younger brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was among those killed. The Taliban leader’s son was wounded, one of the sources said.

The mosque was known to be visited by members of the Afghan Taliban, the sources said.

Pakistani police did not confirm the identity of any of the victims.

“It was a timed device planted under the wooden chair of the prayer leader,” said Abdul Razzaq Cheema, chief of police in Quetta.

Pakistan has promised to help the United States end the Afghan war and both US and Taliban negotiators have recently reported significant progress in their talks in Qatar. But Friday’s blast will raise concerns about prospects for peace.

The Taliban, in exchange for a US troop withdrawal, are expected to guarantee that Afghanistan will not be used for international terrorism.

The militants, fighting to expel foreign forces and set up an Islamic state, are also expected to make a commitment to power-sharing talks with the US-backed government and a ceasefire.

US President Donald Trump is keen to bring the troops home but many Afghans fear a US troop withdrawal will leave the government battling the Taliban alone.

The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, with a focus on training Afghan forces and counter-terrorism.

The province is also a key route of $64 billion mega-project, Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (PCEC), which aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to Balochistan’s Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.