Hazaras in the crosshairs as death toll in latest Kabul blast soars to 53

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Yet another explosion was reported in Kabul on Monday, once again targeting a Hazara-populated area | F10 News

Kabul (Afghanistan): The death toll of a suicide blast on the western edge of Kabul city has reached 53, said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

“Further rise in casualties from Friday’s classroom bombing in Hazara quarter of Kabul: 53 killed, at least 46 girls and young women, 110 injured. Our human rights team continues documenting the crime,” the UN mission here tweeted on Monday.

A suicide explosion rocked an education centre in a neighbourhood of western Kabul on Friday morning where a large number of students were preparing for an exam, Xinhua news agency reported.

While no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, given who the targets of the blast were — Shi’ite Hazara, a minority group in Afghanistan — the blast is all but certain to be the handiwork of the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) militant group active in South Asia and Central Asia, which has consistently targeted Afghanistan’s Hazara community.

Hazara community in Islamic State’s sights

ISKP has conducted numerous high-profile attacks against civilians mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In July 2018, ISKP bombings killed 149 in Mastung, Pakistan. In May 2021, an ISKP bombing killed 90 in Kabul.

In August 2021, ISKP killed 13 American military personnel and at least 169 Afghans during the U.S. evacuation of Kabul, which marked the highest number of U.S. military deaths in an attack in Afghanistan since 2011.

Many attacks carried out this year targeted Afghanistan’s Hazara Shia community.

On May 8, three explosions at the Sayed al-Shuhada school in Kabul killed at least 85 civilians, including 42 girls and 28 women, and injured over 200—the vast majority from the Hazara community. The attack was unclaimed but occurred in a predominantly Hazara neighborhood that ISKP had repeatedly targeted.

On October 8, a suicide bombing during Friday prayer at a Shia mosque in Kunduz killed at least 72 people and injured over 140; the ISKP claimed responsibility.

On March 4, gunmen fatally shot seven Hazara laborers at a plastics factory in Jalalabad.

(with inputs from IANS)

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