News / Asia

Twin Afghan Blasts Kill 59 on Shi'ite Holy Day

A wounded man is being helped after a suicide blast targeting a Shi'ite Muslim gathering in Kabul December 6, 2011
A wounded man is being helped after a suicide blast targeting a Shi'ite Muslim gathering in Kabul December 6, 2011
Kurt Achin

Two terrorist bomb attacks in central and northern Afghanistan killed at least 59 people and wounded more than 160 others Tuesday - the holiest day of the Shi'ite Muslim calendar.

The worst of the violence struck the capital Kabul, when at least one suicide bomber detonated explosives near the Abul Fazel shrine as Shi'ite worshipers gathered. The blast killed 55 people - including women and children - and wounded 160 others.

Major Kabul attacks this year

  • October 29: Suicide car bomber hits NATO bus, killing 13 NATO troops and at least four Afghans
  • September 20: Insurgent with bomb hidden in his turban kills former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani
  • September 13: Taliban attack on U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings kills 16 Afghans
  • August 19: Taliban attackers kill nine Afghans during day-long siege of Britain's cultural center
  • June 29: Taliban suicide bombers and fighters storm InterContinental Hotel, killing 12 people
  • Kabul police chief General Mohammad Ayoub Salangi said, "The ceremony was about to finish. A new group arrived and the suicide bombers placed themselves among the new group. As a result of the suicide bombing, unfortunately, some of our Muslim mourners have been killed."

    Kabul resident Shah Hussein said "I took this wounded person to this emergency hospital for treatment, but here, there is not treatment, and no one cares that I have been waiting here for two hours. I need to take this person to another hospital."

    A second explosion, taking place on Ashura, targeted a shrine in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, killing four people. It is not clear whether Shi'ites were the specific target.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai, still in Germany following Monday's international conference on Afghanistan, condemned the attacks and cancelled his planned two-day visit to Britain to return home.  He said "this was the first time that on such an important religious day in Afghanistan terrorism of that horrible nature had taken place."

    The Taliban denied involvement in the attacks, calling them "cruel and indiscriminate" and blaming them on the "invading enemy."


    View afghanistan - Kabul & Mazar-i-Sharif in a larger map

    However, the Pakistan-based insurgent group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack. The Sunni extremist group is an offshoot of the bigger Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is affiliated with al-Qaida and is responsible for a number of attacks against Shi'ites in Pakistan.

    U.S. President Barack Obama strongly condemned the violence, saying the United States continues to stand with the people of Afghanistan against terrorism.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned in the strongest terms "such indiscriminate attacks against civilians and extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims."

    General John Allen, the commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan called the attacks "the latest example of insurgents' blatant disregard for human life." He said in a statement that "this killing of Afghans, by Afghans, must come to an end."

    A man carries a wounded boy after a suicide blast targeting a Shi'ite Muslim gathering in Kabul, December 6, 2011
    A man carries a wounded boy after a suicide blast targeting a Shi'ite Muslim gathering in Kabul, December 6, 2011

    Experts say the attacks, which came a day after the conference to discuss Afghanistan's future as international combat troops prepare to leave the country, underscores the importance of what was agreed in Bonn - that all countries in the region need to cooperate in security long-term stability for Afghanistan.

    The 10-day Ashura festival, which reaches its peak on Tuesday, marks the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

    Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

    Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

    President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

    S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

    Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
    X
    November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
    A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

    A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

    With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
    Video

    Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

    It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
    Video

    Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

    President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
    Video

    Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

    More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
    Video

    Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

    The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

    Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
    Video

    Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

    The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
    Video

    Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

    Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
    Video

    Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

    The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
    Video

    Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

    Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

    Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

    All About America

    AppleAndroid