A woman walks near the graves of a Shiite community on a hill on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, October 20, 2021. The international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has warned that attacks on Afghanistan’s Shiite minority were carried out by a branches of the extremist group Islamic State constitute crimes against humanity.
Islamic State-Khorasan Province (IS-K), a branch of IS operating in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for some of the most serious recent attacks in Afghanistan, including suicide attacks on Shiite believers by the Hazara minority group . About 150 people have been killed this month in attacks on mosques in Kunduz and Kandahar provinces. The group also claimed responsibility for the August 29, 2021 suicide bombing at Kabul airport that killed about 170 Afghans, mostly civilians.
The attack took place as the United States and allied countries were withdrawing Afghan personnel and collaborators, in the final stages of ending the country’s nearly 20-year war. An IS-K suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Shiite mosque in the northern province of Kunduz on October 8, killing more than 70 people.
“Repeatedly, the IS-K militant group has carried out devastating attacks that appear to have been carried out to spread terror and cause maximum suffering, especially in Afghanistan’s Hazara community,” said Patricia Gossman, HRW Asia Regional Director , an organization based in New York. HRW said in a statement that “the numerous attacks targeting Hazaras constitute crimes against humanity and those responsible must be brought to justice.” The Hazara Shiite community is Afghanistan’s third largest ethnic group.
For a very long time they have faced discrimination and persecution in Afghanistan. The extremist group IS-K considers Shiite Muslims as deniers of the religion. IS-K members are also opposed to Afghanistan’s Sunni Taliban leaders. The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in late August. “Since the Taliban invasion of Afghanistan, IS-K’s horrific attacks on civilians have not diminished and are likely to increase. “The Taliban authorities must adopt measures to protect religious minorities.” Frequent attacks by IS militants in Afghanistan have overshadowed Taliban claims that their leadership has brought peace to Afghanistan. The Taliban are constantly minimizing the threat posed by this extremist group.
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