A deadly suicide attack among worshippers at the Saidabad Grand Mosque in Kunduz province has sparked widespread condemnations. Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in the attack. The victims were buried together in a cemetery on Saturday, October 9, a day after the explosion.
In response to the suicide attack, Afghan civilians have criticized the Taliban for failing to provide security, saying that although the Taliban had assured the people that they would bring security, they have not fulfilled their promises. The International community and human rights advocates have also condemned the attack, calling it a continuation of targeted killings of Shiites and Hazaras. The Taliban, meanwhile, insist that they will arrest and punish the perpetrators. According to the Taliban, the perpetrators of these attacks are known, adding that their forces will persecute the perpetrators soon.
The suicide attack on the Saidabad Grand Mosque took place at around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, October 8. According to statistics, more than 50 people were killed and 143 others were injured in the attack. This is not a final statistic and the death toll may increase. Islamic State in Khurasan Province (ISKP) has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by Mohammad Uighuri. There are also reports indicating that more than 100 people were killed in the attack. Pictures posted on social media show a number of the victims being buried together in a mass grave.
Some civilians and human rights organizations have called the attack a continuation of the targeted killing of Hazaras. “A generation of Hazaras are buried here, oppressed people who have no defender on earth,” said Basit Khaleqi, who posted pictures of the victims’ funerals. Referring to past attacks on the Hazara community, he writes that the Hazara people have been buried in the ground for years and the terrorists have not stopped shedding their blood. He adds that a group of people is being slaughtered every day in Afghanistan and the world is watching.
Qassim Joya, another Facebook user, posted a video of the victims of the attack on the Saidabad Mosque in Kunduz, saying that Hazaras were being slaughtered and killed under various pretexts. “The tragic and bloody incident in Kunduz is an alarm that the Shiite and Hazara mass killings will continue,” he wrote.
Civil society activist Shahabuddin Mohammadi condemned the attack, writing that the Hazara community was under threat from terrorist groups both during the previous government and now. According to him, during the previous government, Hazaras were repeatedly attacked in mosques, schools, wedding halls and sports clubs, killing and injuring hundreds. The civil activist called the attacks a continuation of targeted killings and called on the international community not to remain silent in the face of such killings.
Mohammad Karim Khalili, leader of the Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan, condemned the deadly attack on the Saidabad Mosque in Kunduz, saying that the scale of this “crime against humanity” was so large that it shook every human being. According to him, this crime illustrates the depth of the tragedy and violence that the Afghan people are suffering from. Khalili has stated that all the existence and possessions of the Afghan people have become a battleground for bloodthirsty terrorist groups. He lamented the international community’s silence on the attacks, saying that the international community, which oversees the relations of human societies, is only watching the catastrophes in Afghanistan.
The leader of the Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan has warned of the spread of such attacks and called on the world and the Taliban not to remain silent in the face of such attacks. According to him, if these attacks are not stopped, they will cause great problems for others and will spread rapidly.
“Terrorism, which has a global claim and acts with all its violence and cruelty, and whose goal is controversial, is a monster that grows bigger and more terrifying,” Khalili said. “As time goes on, counter-terrorism will become more difficult.”
Arm the People
Reacting to the attack, Mohammad Mohaqiq, leader of the People’s Unity Party of Afghanistan, said: “The Taliban told the Uighurs not to operate near China borders. They killed and wounded nearly 300 Hazaras and Shiites in a mosque.” Condemning the attack, he said the Taliban had a responsibility to protect the lives, property, and honor of the people, as they controlled all parts of the country. According to him, if the Taliban are unable to secure religious and cultural centers and public gatherings, they should distribute weapons to those in charge of mosques, and religious and cultural schools to ensure the security of these centers themselves. He warned that otherwise, the Taliban would be responsible for the “brutal” killings
Mohaqiq pointed to the security of mosques and scientific-cultural centers by the people, which during the previous government, the security of these centers was provided by the people themselves. The Taliban now say the threats are not serious enough to carry out the plan. According to them, the perpetrators of these attacks are known and the Taliban forces will soon suppress them.
Zakia Adeli, the former deputy minister of social affairs at the former government’s ministry of justice, said in a note in response to the attack that every drop of bloodshed in Afghanistan was the responsibility of the Taliban. According to Ms. Adeli, the Taliban have launched suicide attacks in Afghanistan and in the last 20 years have provided the background for the emergence and activities of terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda and ISIS. She also stressed that the Taliban, by “extremist interpretations of the religion and its propaganda”, has fueled the fire of “hypocrisy and hatred” against ethnic and religious minorities, which will burn the Afghan people for years to come.
Reacting to the suicide attack on worshipers in Kunduz, Fawzia Kofi, leader of the Afghan Wave of Transformation Party, said the attack proves that terrorist groups still have no means but killing and destruction.
“Terrorist groups should know that their lives and survival are depended on terror,” she wrote on her Facebook Page. “A terrorist without violence is no longer the terrorist.”
However, the Afghan Human Rights Commission also condemned the attack on the Saidabad Mosque in Kunduz, calling it a “crime following the targeted killings of Shiites and Hazaras.” In a statement, the commission expressed concern that there was no credible safeguard mechanism in place to protect the endangered population.
The UN Secretary-General also condemned the attack on worshipers in Kunduz, saying the killing of civilians was a violation of fundamental human rights. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted on Friday (October 8) that Friday’s attack on Shiite worshipers in Kunduz was a violation of fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law.
The EU envoy to Afghanistan also called the attack on the Saidabad Mosque in Kunduz barbaric and said it was a terrible crime against civilians.
The Taliban, meanwhile, do not take ISKP’s threats seriously and believe that “ISKP seditions” will soon be eliminated. Bilal Karimi, a Taliban spokesman, has told Hasht-e Subh that their special forces had begun operations and were destroying the group’s strongholds. According to him, ISKP currently has no supporters and cannot pose a challenge to the people. Regarding the ISKP’s attack on a Shiite Mosque, he said that the perpetrators would be identified and punished soon.
This is the first attack on the Hazara community since August 15. In the previous government, schools, mosques, sports clubs, and wedding halls related to the Hazaras were repeatedly targeted, killing and injuring them in thousands.