In Afghanistan, several dead in the explosion targeting a Shiite mosque

Two days after an attack on a school in a Shiite neighborhood of Kabul, at least twelve people were killed and 58 injured, 32 of them seriously, in an explosion that hit a Shiite mosque in Mazar-e Sharif on Thursday, April 20, in the northern Afghanistan, a local Taliban police official said. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. A previous toll reported 10 dead and 15 injured. “Caliphate soldiers managed to place a parcel bomb” inside the mosque, IS said in a statement on a Telegram channel. The ultra-radical Sunni group activated the bomb remotely as the mosque was packed with worshippers. Footage circulating on social media showed victims being transported to hospitals from the Seh Dokan mosque, whose floor was littered with pieces of broken glass. In addition, at least four people were killed and eighteen injured in Kunduz, in the north-east of the country, in the explosion of a bomb placed on a bicycle, as a vehicle transporting civilian mechanics working for a Taliban military unit, local police said. And in Kabul, an explosive device placed on the side of the road injured two children, according to the police in the capital. On Tuesday, at least six people were killed and 24 injured in two explosions that hit a boys’ school in a Kabul neighborhood largely populated by members of the Shiite Hazara minority. Read also: In Afghanistan, a double explosion in a school in a Shiite district of Kabul kills several people The Hazara community often targeted by IS The Hazara community, which represents between 10 and 20% of the Afghan population (about 40 million inhabitants), has been persecuted for a long time in this predominantly Sunni country. She has often been targeted by IS since the Taliban seized power in August, which had themselves attacked her in the past. The Taliban are trying to minimize the threat from the Islamic State organization in Khorassan (EI-K) and are waging a ruthless fight against this group, which they have been fighting for years. They multiplied raids, particularly in the eastern province of Nangarhar, and arrested hundreds of men accused of being part of it. They now claim to have defeated EI-K, but analysts believe that the extremist group is still the main security challenge for the new Afghan power. This group is accused of having carried out or claimed responsibility for some of the deadliest attacks in recent years in Afghanistan. In May 2021, a series of explosions occurred in front of a school for girls in the same Shiite district of Kabul as the one targeted on Tuesday, killing 85 people, mostly high school girls, and more than 300 injured. First a car bomb exploded in front of the school, then two more bombs followed as students rushed outside. IS, which claimed responsibility for an attack in October 2020 against an educational center (twenty-four dead) in the same area, is strongly suspected of having carried out this attack. In this same neighborhood, in May 2020, a group of armed men attacked a maternity hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders, killing twenty-five people, including sixteen mothers, some about to give birth. This attack had not been claimed, but the United States had accused the IS of being responsible for it. Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Afghanistan, the Taliban torn between pragmatism and repression Le Monde with AFP