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Afghanistan: UN chief condemns ‘horrific’ attack at Kunduz mosque

Roadside vendors in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
UNAMA/Shamsuddin Hamedi
Roadside vendors in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: UN chief condemns ‘horrific’ attack at Kunduz mosque

Peace and Security

At least 100 worshippers have been killed or injured after a suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque, in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, according to news reports, during Friday prayers.

The UN chief condemned the “horrific” attack “in the strongest terms”, noting that it represents the third assault on a religious institution, in less than a week.

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Attacks that deliberately target civilians exercising the right to freely practice their religion are violations of fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law”, said Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement released by his Spokesperson. “The perpetrators must be brought to justice.”

The Secretary-General expresses his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes those injured, a speedy recovery.

IKSP claim attack

According to news reports, the attack was claimed by the local Islamic State terrorist group affiliate, known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (IKSP).

IKSP has previously targeted the Shia Muslim community in Sunni-majority Afghanistan, and is an extremist Islamist faction opposed to the de facto rulers of the country, the Taliban, who seized power in mid-August.

Militants from IKSP, carried out the deadly attack at Kabul airport last month, which killed 13 United States military personnel, and 169 Afghan civilians.

‘Disturbing pattern’

The UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, tweeted that it was deeply concerned over the recent spate of attacks, which apart from the bombing of Sayyidabad mosque on Friday, included an incident claimed by IKSP on Sunday near a mosque in Kabul, and Wednesday’s attack on a school in Khost, which is so far, unclaimed.

Today’s incident is part of a disturbing pattern of violence”, said UNAMA.

In a tweet, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said that the bombings and targetting of houses of worship, "highlights the vulnerability of ordinary Afghans, especially religious minorities. Our hearts are with the victims and we hope for justice."

Security Council

The members of the Security Council also condemned the "atrocious and cowardly" attack. 

The Council Members reaffirmed that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, "constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security."

They underlined the need to hold perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these acts accountable, urging all States to cooperate actively.

The members of the Security Council also reiterated that any acts of terrorism are "criminal and unjustifiable".