Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • US aid drops begin in besieged Iraqi town of Amerli

    Read more

  • Filipino UN troops escape Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Algerian diplomats held by Islamists are freed in Mali

    Read more

  • EU mulls Russia sanctions as Kiev warns of 'full-scale war'

    Read more

  • Pakistani protesters clash with police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • UK boy with brain tumour found in Spain, parents held

    Read more

  • Poland's Tusk, Italy's Mogherini set for top EU jobs

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialists' annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • South Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Twin deadly bombings target Afghan shrines

Video by Josh Vardey

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-06

Bombs devastated two shrines in Afghanistan Tuesday, killing at least 54 people - including children - in Kabul and four in Mazar-i-sharif. The bombs coincided with the Shiite celebration of Ashura, which was banned under the Taliban.

REUTERS - Shi’ite Muslims in Afghanistan gathered to offer blood donations for victims of Tuesday’s suicide attack on a crowded shrine in Kabul, while some said they feared the blast that killed at least 54 could presage more violence against them.

The bombing was the most lethal incident in the Afghan capital since an attack on the Indian embassy in 2008 and an act of sectarian violence unprecedented since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.

“They were targeting Shi’ite people,” said Hussain Rassoly, a 25-year-old Shi’ite Muslim in Kabul. “The enemies of this country are trying to bring friction between Sunni and Shi’ite in Afghanistan.”

Rassoly and around 30 other Shi’ite Muslims, mainly young men, were offering blood outside a hospital where victims of the attack were being treated.

Under the close eye of security forces, he and others blamed Pakistan for the attack, which also injured more than 100.

“Neighbouring countries are always interfering, Pakistan is always doing this to us,” he said. “Everybody blames Pakistan. They don’t want security in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan has a history of tension and troubles between Sunnis and the Shi’ite minority, but it has not suffered the large-scale sectarian attacks that have troubled Pakistan.

Insurgent activity and political violence are commonplace in Pakistan. Islamabad, which is trying to fight the Pakistan Taliban, has come under immense pressure to crack down on other militant groups, while bombings and suicide attacks, especially in the northwest, are frequent.

Pakistan, which like Afghanistan has a Sunni majority, pulled out of a major international conference about the future of Afghanistan held in Germany on Monday.

Some Shi’ite worshippers defiantly continued to mark the festival of Ashura, which commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Hussein, driving cars displaying large red and green flags.

The Taliban condemned the attack in Kabul, which came soon before a smaller blast in northern city Mazar-i-Sharif.

Some Shi’ites also blamed the authorities, saying the police had not done enough to guard the crowd which had congregated near a riverside shrine for Ashura when the suicide bomber struck.

“We’re not happy,” said Rassoly. “The police have not taken the necessary measures of security.”
 

Date created : 2011-12-06

  • DIPLOMACY

    World powers in Bonn vow to continue Afghan support

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Three NATO troops killed by roadside bomb blast

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    US general sacked after censuring Afghan leaders

    Read more

COMMENT(S)