The ISKP continues its attacks intended to target religious minorities in Afghanistan

Mosque in Afghanistan Mosque in Afghanistan Marko Beljan on Unsplash

8 October 2021

A suicide bomb attack on a Shia Mosque in Kunduz by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) killed almost 100 worshippers

Suicide bombers attacked the Shia Gozar-e-Sayed Mosque in the Afghanistan’s northeastern city of Kunduz during Friday prayers killing more than 100 worshippers. The local outfit of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed responsibility for the attack. The ISIL-linked Aamaq news agency stated that the attack was meant to target both Shias and the Taliban for their purported willingness to expel Uighurs from Afghanistan to meet demands from China. The Gozar-e-.Sayed Abad Mosque is frequented by people belonging to the Shia Muslim community, a religious minority that is suffering a double discrimination, both as an ethnic minority and being followers of Shia Islam within this majority Sunni country.  

The attack follows others perpetrated by the ISKP affiliated to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which also targeted other religious institutions in the past and was condemned by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) as showing again the pattern of violence subjecting religious minorities. The suicide attack on the Shia mosque was preceded by an incident near the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul on Sunday and an attack on a religious school in Khost on Wednesday. The explosion near the Eid Gah Mosque in Kabul killed at least five civilians. The still unclaimed attack on a religious school in Khost killed around 15 civilians. The ISKP is also responsible for the attack on Kabul airport in August 2021, killing around 170 Afghans civilians and 13 United States military personnel. 

The ISKP is in direct conflict with the Taliban. The group accuses the Taliban of having abandoned Jihad in order to negotiate a peace settlement with Western countries. The ISKP represents thus a security challenge for the new Taliban government as well as to the international community. Through these attacks, ISKP intends to demonstrate its opposition to the Taliban rule and to show  to the international community its active presence in Afghanistan. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres reacted by publicly denouncing this attack as a  violation of civilians’ right to freely practice their religion and was joined by the members of the UN Security Council, who reaffirmed the necessity to fight terrorism and to bring to justice those responsible for acts of terrorism. 


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Author: Pietro Mattioli

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