Armed Men Kill Six Shia Worshippers in Herat

VANCOUVER, CANADA – Local sources say that armed men attacked Shia worshippers in the Guzara district of Herat in western Afghanistan. At least six people, including a local clergyman, were killed.      

The incident unfolded this evening (local time), April 29, following evening prayers in the Mohammadieh neighbourhood of Guzara district.

Sources told KabulNow that the victims were ambushed while returning home from the mosque after the evening prayer on Monday, April 29. The assailants were two men on a motorcycle, who fled the scene.     

Among the victims was the Imam of the community mosque, Sheikh Javid, a revered figure in the locale. Health officials at the Herat Provincial Hospital said that the victims were four men, a woman, and a child. Additionally, several others, including women, sustained injuries as a result of the assault, two of whom have been taken to the hospital.

This is not the first time Shia Hazaras, a historically persecuted ethno-religious minority are tormented by extremist groups. Armed men killed five Hazara men in Herat’s Jebrail district on December 1, 2023. Similar to Monday’s attack, assailants were riding a motorbike last December and opened fire on the civilians who were travelling on a rickshaw.

The same as the previous attack, no group has claimed responsibility for the murders on Monday so far. However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Hazaras in the country are not short of enemies including the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP) which claimed responsibility for many attacks and the regime itself.      

On April 21, 2022, the ISKP killed 31 Hazaras and injured 87 more at Se Dukan Mosque in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif.

On October 13, 2023, another ISKP explosion during the Friday prayers at a Mosque in Pul-e Khumri, the capital of Baghlan, killed 50 Shias and injured dozens more.       

The community’s vulnerability has multiplied as the regime has removed their members from every position of power, has outlawed the Shia jurisprudence and continues to persecute them.