Massacre at Hazara ceremony in Kabul

Hazara ceremony

Gunmen stormed a memorial ceremony honoring a martyred leader of the¬†Hazara Shi’ite minority in Afghanistan’s capital March 6. Key politicians including chief executive ¬†Abdullah Abdullah were on hand for the commemoration of the Hazara Mujahedeen commander¬†Abdul Ali Mazari, who was assassinated by the Taliban in 1995.¬†At least 27 people were killed in the attack, and some 30 more wounded. Soon after the massacre, the Taliban issued a statement denying responsibility. Shortly after that, the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) claimed the attack in a communique, and also asserted that the actual death toll was 150. An ISIS-claimed attack on the same ceremony last year saw a barrage of mortar fire that killed at least 11 people. The new attack comes just as a tentative “peace deal” with the Taliban is raising concerns for the fate of Afghanistan’s ethnic and religious minorities. (Khaama Press, Defense Post, NYT, The Fortress)

Photo of ceremony just before attack via Khaama Press

  1. Massacre at Sikh temple in Kabul

    At least 25 people were killed and around 10 injured when suicide attackers stormed a Sikh place of worship in the Afghan capital, triggering a six-hour standoff with security forces. The attackers targeted a dharamshala in Shor Bazar area of Kabul, which has a sizeable population of the Hindu and Sikh minorities. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State. (Hindustan Times)

  2. Bomb attack on funeral for slain Sikhs in Kabul

    An explosion disrupted the funeral services for 25 members of Afghanistan’s Sikh community who were killed earlier this week in an attack by ISIS militants on their temple. The interior ministry said that no one was hurt when the device detonated near the crematorium where the ceremonies were taking place. (NewEurope)

  3. HRW urges Afghanistan to prosecute captured ISKP leader

    Human Rights Watch is calling on the Afghan government to bring war crime charges against captured militant leader Aslam Farooqi. The arrest of Farooqi was announced by¬†Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security on April 4. He is named the leader of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP). (HRW)

  4. More terror in Kabul

    A suicide bomber on April 29 targeted a base belonging to Afghan special operations forces on the southern outskirts of the capital, Kabul, killing at least three civilians and wounding 15. The government blamed the Taliban for the attack, which took place a day after the country’s defense minister Gen. Assadullah Khalid, and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, visited the facility. (AP)

  5. Afghanistan hospital attack a ‘war crime’

    An attack on a hospital maternity ward in Kabul that killed at least 14 civilians, including two newborn babies, is likely a war crime, rights groups say. 

    Gunmen stormed the Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Afghanistan’s capital on May 12.¬†Witnesses told reporters the assailants shot people at random, including mothers, nurses, and children. The aid group M√©decins Sans Fronti√®res runs a¬†30-bed maternity unit¬†at the hospital.

    “An attack on a maternity clinic is simply unspeakable,”¬†said¬†Patricia Gossman, Human Rights Watch‚Äôs associate Asia director.

    Shaharzad Akbar, head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission,¬†said newborns were essentially “targeted in a war they and their mothers had no part in.”

    Taliban militants have¬†denied¬†involvement in the hospital attack. However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani¬†said¬†he would order the country’s military to resume an “offensive”¬†stance following the assault.

    The Kabul neighborhood home to the hospital is a mostly Shia area that has seen previous attacks linked to the Afghan offshoot of the so-called Islamic State, whose fighters have battled both the Taliban and the government.

    The hospital assault was among at least four separate attacks across the country that killed dozens in total this week, including a bomb blast at a funeral in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

    The violence adds yet another hurdle to¬†Afghanistan’s stalled peace process. Planned talks between the Taliban and the government have stumbled over the disputed issue of prisoner releases.

    The UN says attacks on healthcare centers and¬†health workers¬†have sharply risen in recent years, including 75 reported “incidents”¬†last year. Conflict often forces the closure of¬†health clinics, cutting off access to¬†under-served rural areas. In 2019, roughly 24,000 hours of healthcare delivery were lost due to “forced closure and destruction,”¬†the UN¬†said. (TNH)

  6. Market bombed in Afghanistan’s Helmand

    At least 20 civilians were killed and dozens of others wounded when mortar rounds struck a crowded livestock market in Sangin district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province on June 29, with the government and the Taliban pointing blame at each other. (NYT)

  7. Kabul blast on eve of peace talks

    At least 10 people have been killed in a roadside bomb attack in Kabul that targeted First Vice-President Amrullah Saleh. Saleh, a former head of the Afghan intelligence services, escaped with slight burns on his face and hand. The bombing came as Afghan officials and the Taliban prepared to begin their first formal talks. (BBC News)

  8. Sudents massacred in Afghanistan

    Gunmen stormed Kabul University in Afghanistan, killing at least 19 people. It was the second attack on a learning center in Kabul in recent days. ISIS claimed responsibility.¬†Last week, ISIS also claimed a brutal assault on a tutoring center in the Afghan capital’s mostly Shi’ite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi that killed at least 24 students and wounded more than 100 others Oct. 24. (AP,¬†NPR)

  9. Afghanistan: children among dead in Ghanzi blast

    An explosion in central Ghazni province has left at least 15 dead‚ÄĒmost of them children. The incident occurred when a motorbike loaded with explosives detonated at a house, where dozens of people were gathered for a Quran recitation ceremony. It is unclear if the blast was intentional. (Khaama Press)

  10. Milley sits down with Taliban

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley on Dec. 15 met with Taliban negotiators in Doha, before moving on to Afghanistan to speak with local leaders regarding the ongoing and fragile peace process. The meeting marked the second time Milley met with Taliban¬†representatives. He previously met with the group in June‚ÄĒa meeting that was not announced until after this new meeting. (Air Force Magazine)