Taliban promises enhanced security at Shia mosques after mass killings

The Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan, has promised to increase security at Shia mosques following two attacks that killed hundreds of worshippers in the past few weeks

Oct 17, 2021
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Security at Shia mosques after mass killings

The Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan, has promised to increase security at Shia mosques following two attacks that killed hundreds of worshippers in the past few weeks. The rival ISKP terror group has stepped its attacks after the Taliban seized power in the country.  

Last week, two suicide bombers detonated IEDs in a Shia mosque in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, killing over 40 people, and wounding over 100. Earlier, a similar attack in Kunduz killed over 100 people.

On Saturday, thousands gathered to bury victims killed in the Kandahar attack in a mass grave. Taliban’s Kandahar Police Chief said units would be assigned to protect the Shi’ite mosques, so far guarded by local volunteer forces.

“We are trying our best to arrest all those responsible for the blast and hand them over to the concerned department,” Malwy Abdul Ghafar Mohmadi, the Kandahar police chief, was quoted as saying by Arian news.

The Shiite Assembly of Ahl al-Bayt, a global religious society, had earlier condemned the attack in Kandahar, accusing the security forces in Afghanistan of being “incapable” of addressing such assaults. The Taliban has long been accused of discriminating against Shias and other ethnic minorities in Afghanistan--an allegation the group denies. 

The continuous attacks by the ISKP--which was earlier restricted to the northeastern parts of the country --hint at growing footprints of the group across Afghanistan, posing a serious challenge to the Taliban. 

Since the Taliban takeover on 15 August, the ISKP has mounted over three dozen attacks against Taliban commanders and soldiers. Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern Nangahar province, has turned into a battleground, with both sides killing--in many cases beheading--each others’ members. 

Russia, an important power player in the region post the US withdrawal, is increasingly getting concerned over the growth of radical and extremist groups in Afghanistan, fearing a spillover in Central Asian countries. 

The Taliban, at its recent meeting with US officials, refused any counter-terrorism cooperation, arguing they are capable of tackling challenges posed by the ISKP.

(SAM)