Two separate attacks on Mosques in Afghanistan have killed more than 60 people and wounded dozens more. Mosques in Kabul and Ghor were struck by suicide bombers at the end of a particularly deadly week for the country.
In one attack, worshippers in a Shia Mosque in Kabul were targeted by a suicide bomber, police said on Friday. General Mohammad Salim Almas, Kabul crime branch chief stated that a man “entered the Mosque in Police District 13 of Kabul city … [and targeted] worshippers.” The attacker was said to have walked into the Imam Zaman Mosque where he detonated his explosives vest, killing at least 30 people and wounding 45 more.
Friday’s second attack occurred in the central province of Ghor during prayers in a Sunni Mosque. The suicide bombing struck during prayers, killing 33 people. A spokesman for the provincial police said the bombing appeared to target a local commander, Abdul Ahed, a Jamiat party leader who had sided with the government and was also killed in the attack.
The Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement later on Friday condemning both attacks, asserting the country’s security forces would work to “eliminate the terrorists who target Afghans of all religions and tribes.” Ghani said the incidents show that “terrorists have once again staged bloody attacks, but they will not achieve their evil purposes and sow discord among the Afghans.” No group immediately claimed responsibility for either attack.
Attacks against citizens in Afghanistan are all too familiar. According to a UN report released last week, Afghanistan’s Shia population has been significantly targeted this year, with at least 84 people killed and 194 wounded in attacks on Shia mosques and religious ceremonies. Among those were at least two attacks on mosques in Kabul in August and September. The population have grown increasingly afraid, particularly the residents of Kabul where most schools have additional armed guards.
It has been a devastating week in Afghanistan with more than 70 killed, including civilians. ISIL, also known as ISIS, have claimed responsibility for many of the attacks. The Taliban have unleashed a wave of attacks across the country, targeting police compounds, government facilities, and now, places of worship. Afghan forces have struggled to combat the resurgent Taliban since NATO and US forces formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. The increasing unrest and violence in Afghanistan, and the government’s inability to control these attacks, emphasize the need for greater international support and involvement to establish greater peace and security. The world cannot turn their back on the citizens of Afghanistan.