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Kabul, Balkh massacres: Fanatics kill 33 worshippers

By Mansoor Faizy-KABUL: Thirty-three Muslim worshipers were killed and 82 others injured in two separate terror attacks in the country. The massacres have left the whole Afghan nation in shock.

Dozens of the worshippers were killed and wounded in two heart-wrenching incidents during Ashura in Kabul and northern Balkh province.

As many as 18 people were killed and more than 50 other received injures after a number of gunmen on Tuesday night entered the Kart-e-Sakhi shrine in the third police district. The assailants opened fire on worshipers who were gathered for an Ashura ceremony.

When Afghans were mourning the tragic loss, on Wednesday, 15 people were killed and 30 other received injuries after a bomb went off outside a mosque in the Balkh district of the northern province with the same name.

The mosque was targeted in the explosion, said Moneer Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health said that least 14 people were killed and 26 other wounded in the attack.

The leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) condemned Tuesday night’s attack in Kart-e-Sakhi shrine in Kabul. While condemned the act, President Ashraf Ghani termed the assault as a crime against humanity.

In a statement from the Presidential Palace, Ghani urged all sects to stand firmly against the country’s enemies. He called the attack signaled the enemies’ designs to disturb sectarian harmony in Afghanistan.

At the same, the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah condemned the attack in strongest and possible terms and expressed his deep condolences to the victims.

“I strongly condemn the terrorist attack that targeted our innocent people mourning Ashura earlier this evening in Kabul,‎” Abdullah twitted on Tuesday night.

National Security Adviser, Mohammad Haneef Atmar condemned the attack in strongest words. “The brutal attack on Ashura mourners at Kart-e-Sakhi shrine is an unforgivable crime carried out by terrorists,” he said.

“We request Sunni and Shia and the Muslim people of Afghanistan to recognize the enemies of our unity, empathy and stand firm against them.”

Meanwhile, former President Hamid Karzai condemned Kart-e-Sakhi attack in strongest possible terms, and termed it an act against human and Islamic teachings.

“The inhumane attack has been carried out by the enemies of Islam and Afghanistan,” he said, adding that during the history, the people of Afghanistan has lived in a brotherhood environment where such ominous acts and plots by the enemies could never destroy our unity. “Instead such act would further increase anti-enemy sentiment among Afghan masses.”

The former president offered pray for the martyrs of the attack and wished speedy recovery to the injured.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in Afghanistan slammed Kabul attack, in which dozens of innocent people were killed and wounded.

“The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemns last night’s (Tuesday night) attack at the Kart-e-Shakhi mosque and shrine in Kabul that killed at least 18 civilians and injured more than 50 others,” the UN mission said in a statement.

According to UNAMA, an attacker wearing an Afghan security forces uniform entered the Shia mosque as civilians congregated on the eve of the Muslim Shia day of remembrance, Ashura.

The attacker opened fire on the congregation and used a hand grenade, killing and maiming worshipers. Among those killed were four women and two children, a boy and a girl, UNAMA said.

“This attack deliberately targeting a large group of civilians exercising their right to freely manifest their religion in worship, observance and practice is an atrocity,” the statement by UNAMA added.

“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 UN mission said, adding that the 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,” UNAMA added.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group claimed responsibility Kabul attack that 18 innocent people were killed.

The group released a formal statement through the Amaq news agency which is frequently used by the main group in Syria and Iraq.

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