Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations mission in Afghanistan have strongly condemned today’s explosions in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif that have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries of civilians who had gathered for a Shiite religious observance.
Both explosions happened around midday, according to media reports. A suicide bomber struck a shrine packed with worshippers in the capital, Kabul, reportedly killing at least 54 people, while another blast struck near a mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, killing four.
The attacks occurred on the Shiite holiday of Ashura, which commemorates the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Hussein.
“The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms such indiscriminate attacks against civilians and extends his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wounded,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed its heartfelt condolences and stressed that the attacks have no justification.
“Such illegal and indiscriminate attacks are completely unacceptable and those responsible are fully accountable for the deaths and injuries of civilians caused by such brutal acts,” the mission stated.
The attacks come a day after leaders from over 100 countries and international organizations met in Bonn, Germany, to pledge their continued support for Afghanistan in its efforts to build a better, peaceful and prosperous life for its people.