UNAMA condemns killing of civilians in second mosque attack in 24 hours

12 Oct 2016

UNAMA condemns killing of civilians in second mosque attack in 24 hours

KABUL - The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns this afternoon’s attack at a mosque in the northern province of Balkh that killed at least 10 civilians and injured more than 36. The attack was the second carried out within 24 hours in Afghanistan as worshipers have congregated to mark the Muslim day of remembrance, Ashura.

Today’s explosion occurred at the entrance of a mosque located in the Khojagholak area of Balkh district in the northern province.

The death toll from Tuesday night’s attack in Kabul has risen to 19 civilians with more 50 other injured when an attacker opened fire on Shia worshippers gathered at a mosque and shrine. Daesh, or Islamic State, issued an online statement today claiming responsibility for the Kabul attack. Nobody has yet claimed to have been behind today’s attack in Balkh.

“These attacks on worshippers are truly abhorrent” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, “The extremists behind this emerging pattern of sectarian violence will not succeed in reversing Afghan traditions of religious and ethnic tolerance.”

Earlier this year, Daesh 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 community, in what was the deadliest single incident recorded by the United Nations in Afghanistan since 2001.  

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. International humanitarian law further prohibits attacks directed against people and places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples.

UNAMA expresses condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery for the injured.