Afghanistan: Another blast kills 8, injures over 20 in Kabul
A bomb explosion on a busy shopping street in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Saturday killed a eight and wounded 22 others, as per hospital officials and witnesses. The bomb detonated in a crowded area of the city's west where people of the minority Shia Muslim community frequently congregate. The militant Sunni Muslim organization Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Why does this story matter?
The Islamic State (IS) affiliate that has been working in Afghanistan since 2014, targeting minorities through its sleeper cells, is regarded as the country's most significant security threat since the Taliban seized power in August last year. The extremist militant group has taken responsibility for most of the recent terror attacks, the majority of which targeted the Shi'ite community, a religious minority in Afghanistan.
Blast occured before the festival of Ashura commenmorating Hussein
The attack occurred just before Ashura, a Shia Muslim event commemorating the martyrdom of Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. Sayed Kazum Hojat, a Kabul-based Shia religious scholar, reportedly stated that the Taliban administration had increased security in preparation for Ashura, but that it should be more vigilant. According to local media, the IS allegedly targeted a group of women and children who had gathered.
Details regarding the incident
A social media video purportedly of the scene of the attack depicted men rushing to aid the wounded after the explosion. An anonymous senior Taliban security official reportedly stated that preliminary investigations revealed that bombs were placed in a vegetable cart. As per reports, the explosion impacted more than 50 people, since the spot of the blast was reportedly a "crowded place".
Blasts targeted Shia women mosque on Friday
The blast comes after IS targeted a Shia women mosque on Friday. Two explosions were reported, targeting the biggest religious minority in Afghanistan, the Hazaras. According to Ariana news, the explosions occurred at the women's Imam Baqir Mosque in the Sar-e Kariz neighborhood.
Why did IS conducted the attack?
Shias comprise roughly 10-20% of the 39 million Afghan population, including Hazaras, Pashtuns, and Persian-speaking Tajiks. The community has long been persecuted by Sunni extremist groups, including the Taliban. Therefore, the IS attack targeted the ethnic Hazara Shia community. The new Taliban rulers have promised to protect the minorities, even though multiple attacks have been reported since their hostile takeover in August 2021.
Several blasts hit Kabul in recent times
On June 18, multiple blasts were reported from a gurudwara in Kabul. On June 11, a blast hit Kabul's Batkhak Square. On May 25, three explosions rocked the capital of Balkh province. On the same day, a blast at Masjid Sharif Hazrat Zakaria mosque in Kabul killed two. In March 2020, an attack at Kabul's Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib gurdwara killed 27 Sikhs.