| Updated at: 2348 PST, Monday, January 03, 2011|
KABUL: Four people were shot dead in Afghanistan when insurgent gunmen burst into a mosque and killed civilians who were praying there, international forces said Monday.
The attack took place in Baghlan province, north of the capital Kabul, Monday when two men entered the mosque, killing four people and injuring two others, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.
Its director of public affairs, Rear Admiral Vic Beck, called the incident a "despicable murder of innocent civilians".
"To gun down a group of people in prayer is reprehensible," he said in a statement released by ISAF. "We will continue to work with the Afghan government in bringing those responsible to justice."
International forces are fighting a nine-year insurgency by Taliban militants who were ousted from power by a US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Last year saw the highest number of international troop deaths yet in the conflict -- 711 -- while the death toll for civilians is also high.
Afghanistan's interior ministry said this week that 2,043 civilians died in 2010 due to Taliban attacks and military operations.
But last month, the United Nations said that 2,412 Afghan civilians had died due to the conflict in the first 10 months of 2010, up 20 percent on the same period in 2009. The UN has yet to release complete figures for the year.