Afghanistan, ISIL attacks a demining camp

Several muslim militants standing on a ridge Several muslim militants standing on a ridge Photo by zabelin


18 June 2021

ISIL attacks a group of deminers, causing deaths and injuries

Twenty-year-old Aqa Mohammad spoke to Al Jazeera about the death of his father, Ghulam Mohammad, who was killed in Baghlan (Afghanistan) by armed men on 8 June 2021 during an attack on a HALO Trust demining camp, the NGO he worked for. On that occasion, 9 other employees lost their lives, and 16 more were injured. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the terrorist group ISIL.

A survivor of the attack gave his testimony: after the terrorists raided the office they gathered the personal belongings of those present, divided them into different rooms, and then tried to distinguish the religious minorities Hazaras and Shias, who are suffering from persecution in the country. The victims, after claiming to all be Muslims, began to recite the kalimas, including the declaration of the muslim faith; that was the moment when the shooting started. Indeed, HALO Trust has said that it considers the event to have been an ethnically-motivated attack: James Cowan, the CEO of the NGO, confirmed that among the workers were several people of Hazara faith. For similar reasons, a predominantly Hazaran female school in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of Kabul was attacked last month, which led to around  80 people losing their lives. The Taliban have denied any involvement in the attacks. However, the police remain sceptical as the Taliban control the area where the events occurred; furthermore, there is suspicion of possible Taliban involvement in attacks previously attributed to ISIS.

Thanks to the work of deminers such as Ghulam Mohammad the province of Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, was among the first provinces to be declared free of mines in 2019: the victim’s son emphasized how his father had helped make the country safer for all its inhabitants. Human Rights Watch expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, stressing its commitment towards the elimination of landmines and other dangerous weapons. On their end, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its disappointment on Twitter and condemned the attack, while also stating that the warring parties should strive to safeguard humanitarian workers in the areas under their control. Despite an increasing level of violence in general, the United Nations have highlighted their intention to remain active in the country. 



Afghanistan: UN condemns ‘horrendous attack’ on demining partner HALO Trust | | UN News

Afghan deminers to ‘continue to save lives’ despite deadly attack | Conflict News | Al Jazeera


Autore: Sara Taherzadeh – Editore: Maxime Grenier

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