Dozens killed in attacks on holy day in Afghanistan

A bombing in the northern city of Balkh marks the second time in 24 hours that Shia Muslims were targeted in the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The last time a Shia congregation was targeted on the Muslim holy day of Ashura in Afghanistan was in 2011.

An explosion near a mosque in northern Afghanistan has left at least 14 people dead and dozens more injured.

Wednesday's bombing in the city of Balkh targeted Shia worshippers observing the Muslim holy day of Ashura. The blast came less than 24 hours after an attack on a shrine in Kabul killed at least 14 people.

Monim Ahmad Farhad, spokesperson for the Balkh provincial governor’s office, told TRT World at least 28 people were injured in the Wednesday bombing.

"At 3:30pm [local time] the enemies of Afghanistan detonated an explosive device near a mosque," Farhad said.

In Kabul, the annual Ashura commemorations meant to mark the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson carried on but with increased security restrictions. No group has so far claimed responsibility for either attack.

On July 23, a bomb blast targeted a protest attended mostly by members of the Hazara minority, who make up the bulk of the nation’s Shia population. At least 84 died that day and over 130 were injured. That attack was claimed by the mostly Syria and Iraq-based Daesh terrorist group.

Another deadly assault on Afghanistan's Shias came during the Ashura commemorations of 2011. That bombing in Kabul left at least 70 people dead. The 2011 attack was claimed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a violent Pakistan-based sectarian group.

TRTWorld and agencies