A Daesh (ISIS) suicide bomber targeted Shia Muslims who gathered at a voter registration centre in the capital, Kabul, killing at least 57 people and wounding more than 100 others. The dead included 22 women and eight children. A family of six were also killed that day when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb near another voting centre in Baghlan’s Pul-e-Khumri City.
A UN statement condemning the attack in Kabul confirmed that a number of violent incidents occurred at registration centres and that the bomb exploded in a heavily Shia-populated Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in the west of the city. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted: “I condemn the heinous terrorist attacks in Kabul and Pul-e-Khumri.”
The bomb blast was the latest in a long line of attacks by Sunni militants on Afghanistan’s Shia. In late December 2017, at least 41 people were killed and more than 80 were wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a Shia Centre in Kabul.
Attacks targeting the Shia Muslim community are not restricted to Afghanistan or even the Middle East. In Quetta, Pakistan, where there has been a series of attacks by Sunni militants on Shia, unidentified assailants killed five members of the Hazara Shia Muslim community. The shooting took place in October 2017. Ongoing attacks have seen the community retreat to two heavily protected enclaves on the outskirts of the city.
US News, 22nd April 2018; ABC 7NY News, 22nd April 2018; Al Jazeera, 22nd April 2018, 9th October 2017; BBC News (web), 28th December 2017; New English Review, 11th May 2018; UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, 22nd April 2018; Telegraph, 22nd April 2018; France 24, 22nd April 2018.