Attackers adorned in burqas opened fire on a Shi’ite mosque and set off a suicide bomb on 3rd August. The attack killed around 39 people and injuring many in the southeastern part of Afghanistan. Government officials stated that the death toll might increase further.
According to sources, the mosque in the city of Gardez, in the province of Pakita was attacked by two burqa-clad militant. The police chief of Pakita stated that militants carried out the attack when over 100 people assembled in order to make prayers. When the men attacked the Khawaja Hassan mosque with explosives and guns, around 80 people got injured. The city hospital of Gardez reported that they received at least 50 wounded adults and 20 wounded children.
A top government official stated that the militants fired openly on the devotees. He even stated that one militant activated the suicide bomb. However, security guards who were posted at the Shi’ite mosque killed the other attacker. Eye witnesses recalled that the attackers made entry into the prayer halls and were adorning veils.
The Taliban denied the responsibility for any attacks carried out during the prayer time. However, similar attacks have been carried out by militants associated with the Islamic State in the past. The attack stresses on the country’s desperate security need after years of war and intervention of the U.S. for 17 long years.
Islamic State often targeted Afghanistan’s Shi’ite minority. Even though Afghanistan’s wars have been mostly involved Sunni Muslims, the amount of attack on Shi’ite has increased drastically over the recent years.
No appropriate information is present regarding the extent of the Shi’ite community; however, it is estimated that it could be around 10-15%, which includes Persian speaking Hazara ethnic group members and Tajiks.