Terror attacks kill 30 as Afghans observe Ashura amid tight security

KABUL — Afghans marked Ashura or the 10th day of Muslim’s month of Maharram on lunar calendar which is a remembrance day for Muslims particularly the Shiite sect to observe the martyrdom of prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussain and his 72 companions who were killed in Karbala of Iraq in 680 AD.

Although the government has taken all security measures to facilitate the mourners to observe Ashura in a peaceful environment, terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of at least 30 worshipers and injured 82 others, according to officials.

In the first fatal offensive which happened in Kabul on the eve of Ashura, at least 16 worshipers were killed and 54 others injured, the Interior Ministry confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, a group of suicide attackers targeted a shrine in Kabul on Tuesday night and attacked congregation of worshipers, killing 16 innocent civilians including three women and two children and injuring 54 others, including 26 women.

A similar attack on worshipers in another mosque in Kabul on Tuesday night, according to the Interior Ministry, had been foiled after the security forces gunned down two terrorists inside the mosque.

Meanwhile, terrorists launched a deadly attack on the procession of Ashura mourners in Balkh district of the northern Balkh province Wednesday afternoon, killing 14 worshipers and injuring 28 other, according to Farhad Munir, the spokesman for Balkh provincial government.

However, some officials and eyewitnesses on the condition of anonymity put the number of casualties of both the attacks higher than reported by officials.

Meantime, the attacks on Ashura mourners have drawn wide condemnations.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Wednesday termed the fatal attack as an “atrocity” and denounced it in its strongest term.

“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,” UNAMA said in a statement.

Earlier President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani called the attack on worshipers as a “coward terrorist act” aimed at damaging unity among Muslim sects and strongly condemned it.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai in a statement released by his office also blamed the enemies of Afghanistan for attacking worshipers.

Joining the condemnations, Afghans from all walks of life, besides slamming attacks on worshipers in Ashura, called upon the government to protect the lives of its citizens. PNA/Xinhua-northboundasia.com