Locals in Mazar-e-Sharif, in Balkh province of northern Afghanistan, say that the Taliban has prevented Ashura ceremony preparations at the shrine of Hazrat Ali, aka Rawza-e-Sharif, and denied permission to hold the Ashura event there for security reasons.
Officials from the Taliban in Mazar-e-Sharif have instructed those attending Ashura events to do so exclusively in mosques, citing security concerns as their justification.
Every year in Rawza-e-Sharif before the Taliban’s control, the Ashura ceremony was observed.
The Taliban have also acknowledged that they have removed the Ashura holiday from the calendar, as earlier reports in some domestic media and Iranian media contended that the Taliban removed Ashura as a national holiday.
Two explosions occurred among the mourners of this month in Kabul on the 7th and 8th days of Muharram. The number of casualties has been reported with conflicting numbers.
While witnesses to the incident and local sources claim that more than 100 people were killed and nearly 150 others were injured in both blasts, Khalid Zadran stated that there were 8 fatalities and 20 injuries in the first explosion and 2 fatalities and 7 injuries in the second explosion.
Ashura is observed by all Muslims on the tenth day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.
As it commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala, which took place in present-day Iraq in the seventh century and resulted in Hussein’s death, it is a time of mourning that is particularly significant for Shia Muslims.