Deadly Assault on Shia Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan Claims at Least 7 Lives

Gunman attacks Shia mosque in Afghanistan, killing at least 7 and injuring several others. Highlights ongoing vulnerability of Shia minority and security challenges faced by Taliban government.

Muhammad Jawad
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Deadly Assault on Shia Mosque  in Herat, Afghanistan Claims at Least 7 Lives

Deadly Assault on Shia Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan Claims at Least 7 Lives

A gunman stormed a Shia mosque in the Guzara district of Herat province, western Afghanistan, assaulting at least seven people, including a child, and injuring several others. The incident occurred around 9:00 pm local time as worshippers were praying inside the Imam Zaman mosque in the Andisha Township, which is predominantly inhabited by Shiites.

According to Taliban spokesman Abdul Matin Qanay, six civilians were slain, assault, Afghanistan and one more was wounded when an "unidentified gunman" opened fire on the congregation with a Kalashnikov rifle. However, sources told Amu that the death toll was at least seven, with more than 10 others wounded. Among the victims was the mosque's imam.

No group has claimed responsibility for the assault yet, but the Islamic State group's affiliate in Afghanistan, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), is a major Taliban rival and has frequently targeted Shia communities in the past. The regional chapter of ISIS poses the biggest security threat in Afghanistan, according to analysts.

Why this matters: This incident highlights the ongoing vulnerability of Afghanistan's Shia minority, who have been repeatedly targeted by extremist groups despite the Taliban's pledge to protect all ethnic and religious communities. It also underscores the security challenges faced by the Taliban government in containing the threat posed by ISIS-K.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) strongly condemned the assault and called for investigations and protection for Shia communities in the country. "UNAMA condemns in the strongest terms today's attack on a Shia mosque in Herat, Afghanistan. Attacks on civilians & civilian objects, including mosques, are strictly prohibited under international law. UNAMA calls for investigation & accountability," the mission tweeted.

The Taliban government has pledged to protect religious and ethnic minorities, but rights observers say they have done little to keep that promise. Shia Muslims, who make up about 22% of Afghanistan's population, have been targeted in numerous, slain, assault, Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August 2021.

The assault on the Herat mosque is the second such incident in the province in recent months. In December 2023, a similar incident claimed, firearm, assault, Afghanistan, government seven lives, including two Shia clerics and four women. The Taliban authorities have been accused of downplaying security threats by providing lower death tolls after incidents.

Key Takeaways

  • Gunman attacked Shia mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, killing at least 6 civilians.
  • Attack occurred during evening prayers, with ISIS-K suspected as perpetrator.
  • UN condemns attack, calls for investigation and protection of Shia communities.
  • Taliban accused of downplaying security threats and death tolls after incidents.
  • This is the second such attack on a Shia mosque in Herat province in recent months.