Terrorist attacks in Kabul
A sad record: More than 300 Shi’ites killed in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan – The Hazara are especially at risk (Press Release)
Following the recent terrorist attack in Kabul, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls for better protection of the Shi’ite minority in Afghanistan. According to the human rights organization, at least 315 Shi’ites were killed in terrorist attacks by extremist Sunnis in 2017. Most of the victims belonged to the ethnic group of the Hazara. “Once again, there were many Hazara among the victims of the recent attack. If this minority is supposed to have a life perspective in Afghanistan, there must be significantly more measures to protect them,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director. On Thursday, at least 42 people were killed and 55 people injured in the attack on the Shiite Teyban Cultural Center in the Afghan capital. There are 17 employees of the Afghan Voice News Agency among the victims.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. Many of the attacks on Shiites in 2017 were carried out by IS, which sees Shiites as infidels. The acts of terrorism are supposed to fuel tensions between the religious communities. In addition to the police and the Afghan army, it is especially the Shiites who have to fear targeted attacks.
“So far, Afghanistan’s government and the security forces have not been able to protect the vulnerable minority of the roughly three million Shiite Hazara from politically motivated violence,” Delius criticized – although, in September, the Afghan government decided to have 400 civilians armed to protect Shiite mosques. However, the members of the religious community are still not safe. Thus, 72 Shiites were killed when an Islamic State assassin blew himself up in a mosque in Kabul on October 20, 2017. Most of the victims were Hazara.
According to the UN Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA), there were 51 attacks on religious sites and religious communities between January 2016 and November 2017 – with 273 dead and 577 injured, most of whom belonged to the community of the Shiite Hazara. In 2016, the number of victims in attacks by IS had quadrupled compared to the previous year. There are no definitive numbers for 2017 yet, but a significant increase in the number of deaths is to be expected.
Header Photo: USACE Afghanistan Engineer District-South via Flickr