“On behalf of the men and women of Resolute Support, we offer our condolences to the families of the innocent men, women and children killed and wounded in today’s attack. We will continue to stand with our Afghan partners and do everything possible to secure a peaceful, stable Afghanistan,” the top US commander in Afghanistan and commander of the Resolute Support (RS) mission, Gen. John Nicholson said.
The UN mission in Afghanistan in a statement said it ondemns today’s attack at the Baqer-ul Ulom mosque in Kabul that killed at least 32 civilians and injured more than 50 others, many of them children.
The statement further added that a suicide attacker detonated his body-borne improvised explosive device at the mosque killing and maiming worshipers from the country’s Shia Muslim community.
The attacker deliberately targeted a group of civilians at the mosque, which had a particularly large congregation as worshippers gathered to observe Arbaeen, a commemoration on the 40th day after Ashura.
“This appalling attack on worshippers is an atrocity,” said Pernille Kardel, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan. “UNAMA expresses its revulsion at this latest effort by extremists to stoke sectarian violence in Afghanistan,” said Kardel, who is also the acting head of UNAMA. “Religious and ethnic tolerance are values the Afghan people hold strong, and I urge the Afghan authorities to do everything possible to defend Afghans of all faiths.”
UNAMA said international humanitarian law prohibits deliberate attacks against civilians and civilian property, including places of worship. International humanitarian law further prohibits attacks directed against people and places of worship, which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for today’s incident. It follows two similar attacks last month against Shia Muslim congregations during Ashura that claimed at least 29 civilian lives. Daesh, or Islamic State, issued an online statement claiming responsibility for one of those attacks. The same group claimed responsibility for a 23 July attack on demonstrators in Kabul that killed 85 civilians and injured more than 400 others, nearly all members of the country’s Shia Muslim community, in what was the deadliest single incident recorded by the UN in Afghanistan since 2001.