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Empty Condemnations Flow as Hazaras Grieve After the Deadly Mosque Attack

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – In the wake of a massacre in a Shia mosque, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that the country’s Hazara-Shia community needs immediate protection measures. Condemning the shooting on Monday which killed at least six civilians, the UN called for an investigation into the carnage to identify the perpetrators.

In a statement posted on social media, UNAMA called for accountability for the perpetrators of the attack, emphasizing that the protection of the Hazara-Shia community in Afghanistan is urgently needed.

Richard Bennett, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, also condemned the attack, calling for prevention, protection, and justice for the Hazara-Shia community in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, denouncing the incident as a heinous attack, Raffaella Iodice, EU Chargée d’Affaires to Afghanistan, also stressed the importance of safeguarding the Shia religious group in Afghanistan.

Local sources from Afghanistan’s western Herat province reported yesterday evening that armed men attacked Shia worshipers in the Guzara district, predominantly populated by Hazara-Shias, resulting in the deaths of at least six people, including a local clergyman.

KabulNow sources confirmed that the victims were ambushed on their way home from the mosque after the evening prayer. The attackers, two men on a motorcycle, managed to escape the area following the incident.

According to local health officials, the victims included four men, a woman, and a child. Additionally, several others, including one woman, sustained injuries. Two individuals in critical condition have been taken to the hospital for further treatment.

Abdul Mateen Qani, the spokesperson for the Taliban Ministry of Interior, confirmed the attack, saying that an “unidentified gunman” opened fire on the congregation with a Kalashnikov at approximately 9 pm local time, resulting in the deaths of six people and injuring one other.

As of now, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Hazara-Shia, a historically persecuted ethno-religious community in Afghanistan, has been targeted for years by the Islamic State affiliate, IS-KP, in their places of worship, schools, and hospitals.

Since January of this year, IS-KP has claimed responsibility for at least three other attacks on Hazaras in Afghanistan. Just last week, the terrorist group claimed responsibility for an attack in western Kabul, saying it targeted the Hazara-Shia community which resulted in the deaths and injuries of 10 people.

The Taliban authorities have pledged repeatedly to protect religious and ethnic minorities; however, rights group and community activists say that the regime is in fact part of the problem. Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that the regime has done little to fulfill its commitment to protect Hazaras. According to HRW, the Taliban have failed to protect these communities from suicide bombings and other unlawful attacks, or provide necessary medical care and other assistance to victims and their families.

The latest attack on Hazara-Shia in Herat sparked condemnation from Afghan politicians and the Iranian embassy in Kabul, labeling the assault as un-Islamic and an act of terror.

In a statement, the Iranian embassy in Kabul condemned the attack as a terrorist incident, announcing its readiness to collaborate with the regime in Kabul in counterterrorism efforts, and called for an investigation and punishment of the perpetrator of the incident.

Former President Hamid Karzai has also condemned the attack, saying that it violated Islamic and human values, and wished a quick recovery for those injured in the incident.

Abdullah Abdullah, the former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, characterized the attack as a “cowardly act of terrorism,” extending sympathy to the victims and survivors of the incident.