For the country’s ethnic Shiite Hazaras, a historically persecuted community, the week has been the deadliest in recent months, with their places of worship and other community spaces being targeted by Sunni Jihadist ISKP. Over three dozen people were confirmed killed in these attacks
At least 33 people were killed and 43 wounded in a bombing of a mosque in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, raising fears of the return of daily attacks and bombings and making the week the deadliest in recent months.
Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s deputy minister for information and culture and the group’s spokesperson, confirmed the incident and casualties which targeted a Shiite mosque in the Imam Saheb district in Kunduz province.
The incident was the second consecutive attack targeting a mosque in the city. Earlier on Thursday, the ISKP claimed two attacks that took place in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kunduz Wednesday.
Calling the attack horrific, UN’s deputy special representative to Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov said that “killings must stop now and perpetrators brought to justice.”
For the country’s ethnic Shiite Hazaras, a historically persecuted community, the week has been the deadliest in recent months, with their places of worship and other community spaces being targeted by Sunni Jihadist ISKP. Over three dozen people were confirmed killed in these attacks.
Since capturing power in August last year, the Taliban, a group of Sunni Islamists, mostly ethnic Pashtuns, has failed to provide security to the Shiite minority, mostly Hazaras. The ISKP, the regional branch of ISIS, has repeated the community.
In the weeks leading to their victory last year, the Taliban fighters freed thousands of prisoners locked up in Afghan jails, which also resulted in the release of hundreds of cadres of the ISKP. The recent spate of bombings indicates the group's intent for the coming months.
Michael Kugelman, a senior associate in the Washington-based Wilson Centre, said the Taliban’s return to power and the departure of the US and West forces benefited the ISKP.
Commenting on the ISKP, Kugelman, who is an expert on South Asia, said that the group’s relative inactivity in recent months was “never an indication of its diminished strength.” The release of its prisoners, the collapse of former security forces, which allowed them to access new weaponry and allowed them to augment its military supplies, and the end of the airstrikes, all these factors, he said, worked in the group’s favor.