Gunman Kills 6 Worshippers at Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan

Gunman attacks mosque in Afghanistan, killing 6 civilians, raising concerns about Taliban's ability to protect minorities amid ongoing insurgency.

Muhammad Jawad
New Update
Gunman Kills 6 Worshippers at Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan

Gunman Kills 6 Worshippers at Mosque in Herat, Afghanistan

On Monday evening, a gunman stormed a mosque in the Guzara district of Herat province in western Afghanistan, killing at least six civilian worshippers and injuring one other. The attack occurred around 9:00 pm local time at the Imam Zaman mosque in the Andisha Township of Guzara, an area predominantly inhabited by Shia Muslims.

According to Mufti Abdul Mateen Qani, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, the unidentified gunman used a Kalashnikov rifle to open fire on the congregation while they were offering evening prayers. All of the victims were civilians, including the mosque's imam and a three-year-old child. Local sources reported that a team of three gunmen staged the attack, contradicting the official account of a lone assailant.

No group has claimed responsibility for the deadly incident yet. The regional chapter of the Islamic State (IS) is considered the largest security threat in Afghanistan and has frequently targeted Shia communities in the past. The Taliban government, which seized power in August 2021, has pledged to protect religious and ethnic minorities but has been accused by rights monitors of doing little to fulfill that promise.

Why this matters: This attack is the latest in a series of assaults targeting Afghanistan's Shia Hazara community, the poorest ethnic group in the country that accounts for about 22% of the population. It raises concerns about the Taliban's ability to provide security and protect vulnerable minorities amid the ongoing insurgency by IS.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) condemned the attack and called for urgent protection measures for the country's Shia communities, as well as investigations and accountability for the perpetrators. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly denounced the mosque shooting as a "terrorist act against all religious and human standards." Iran, which shares a border with Herat province, has offered support to help identify those responsible for the attack.

Key Takeaways

  • Gunman attacked mosque in Herat, Afghanistan, killing 6 civilians.
  • Attack occurred during evening prayers, targeting Shia Muslim worshippers.
  • No group claimed responsibility, but IS is the largest security threat.
  • UN and former Afghan president condemned the attack, called for protection.
  • Iran offered support to help identify perpetrators of the attack.