Statement of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan on Friday’s mosque attacks
KABUL - The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, expressed outrage and condemned Friday’s attacks targeting mosques and worshippers in Kabul and Ghor province. At least 59 people were killed and a further 60 others injured, including many women and children.
“These brutal and senseless attacks against people at prayer are atrocities,” said Yamamoto, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “The persons most responsible for the attacks must be brought to justice.”
The suicide attack inside the Imam-e-Zaman Shi'a Mosque in Kabul claimed at least 50 lives, with 50 more persons injured. All of the victims were civilians. Islamic State – Khorasan Province claimed responsibility. The suicide attack in the village of Khojagan in the Dolaina district of Ghor province targeted a local pro-government armed group leader and members of his group in a Sunni mosque, killing at least nine and injuring a further ten. No responsibility has been claimed.
The incidents are the latest in a pattern of attacks against mosques, particularly Shi’a religious sites. UNAMA’s most recent quarterly report on civilian casualties notes that during the first nine months of 2017 attacks directed against the Shi’a population as they attended mosques or religious ceremonies resulted in 278 civilian casualties (84 deaths and 194 injured).
International humanitarian law prohibits deliberate attacks against civilians and civilian property, including places of worship, and places a specific obligation on parties to enable religious personnel to carry out their work.
The Mission sends its condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.