Afghan Shi’ites fear further attacks on Ashura

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The Afghan capital Kabul braced on Saturday for additional doable assaults forward of Ashura, the holiest day on the Shi‘ite Muslim calendar, a day after an assault claimed by Islamic State that killed a minimum of 5 individuals close to a big Shi‘ite mosque.

Forward of the commemorations on Sunday, indicators of elevated safety have been in proof throughout Kabul, with further police checkpoints and roadblocks in lots of areas, whereas safety was additionally elevated in different cities.

Afghanistan, a majority Sunni Muslim nation, has historically not suffered the sectarian violence that has devastated international locations like Iraq, however a collection of assaults over current years have focused the Shi‘ite group.

“We’re involved about this. We had inner preventing up to now however by no means spiritual preventing,” mentioned Arif Rahmani, a member of parliament and a member of the primarily Shi‘ite Hazara group that has been significantly focused.

The federal government has offered some primary coaching and weapons for a couple of hundred volunteer guards close to mosques and different assembly locations however many worry that the safety, which covers solely a few of the metropolis’s greater than 400 Shi‘ite mosques, is inadequate.

In 2011, greater than 80 individuals have been killed in Ashura assaults in Kabul and the northern metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif and there have been a string of others since, with 20 individuals killed in a suicide assault on a mosque in Kabul a month in the past.

Friday’s assault, by suicide bombers posing as shepherds strolling their sheep alongside a highway outdoors the Hussainya mosque within the Qala-e-Fatehullah space of the town, didn’t attain the mosque itself however wounded 20 individuals along with the 5 killed.

No up-to-date census information exists for Afghanistan however totally different estimates put the scale of the Shi‘ite group at between 10-20 % of the inhabitants, principally Persian-speaking Tajiks and Hazaras.

Ashura, on the 10th day of the month of Muharram, celebrates the martyrdom of Hussein, one of many grandsons of the Prophet Mohammad, and is marked by massive public commemorations by Shi‘ite Muslims.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned Friday’s assault and mentioned it could not break the unity between religions in Afghanistan.

However at a time when rivalry between the patchwork of various ethnic teams within the nation has more and more come into the open, Rahmani mentioned the evident goal of the assaults was to ratchet up the tensions to create instability.

“Previously, there have been warnings that there have been teams that needed to stir ethnic and non secular battle amongst Afghans however now it’s actuality,” Rahmani mentioned. “There are individuals who need to create disunity amongst ethnic and non secular teams,” he mentioned.

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