A suicide bomber detonated his belt targeting a peaceful demonstration in Kabul on Saturday, July 23rd, killing 80 and injured a further 231.
The 311 killed and injured were mostly members of the ethnic Hazara community, who are predominantly Shia Muslims, who had been marching to demand the rerouting of a power line through the impoverished province of Bamiyan.
A further two potential bombers failed to detonate when one bombers belt failed and another was killed by security forces before they could detonate their explosives.
A day of mourning was declared yesterday for the victims of the attack as memorials and funerals took place.
The attack was claimed by ISIS, a mostly Sunni terrorist group who consider Shia Muslims apostates. It was the most lethal attack by the group recorded in Afghanistan. It was also one worst IED attacks perpetrated in Afghanistan and demonstrates the increasing lethality of IEDs, particularly suicide bombs, in the country.
AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2015 found that 70% (1,906) of deaths and injuries from explosive violence in Afghanistan last year were caused by IEDs.
Of the IED attacks recorded in Afghanistan in 2015 41% were suicide attacks. However, these suicide attacks accounted for 64% of the deaths and injuries from all IED attacks in the country. Our wider overview of explosive violence attacks in Afghanistan can be read here.
AOAV’s Explosive Violence Monitor 2015 found that suicide attacks were the most dangerous form of IED attack worldwide.
AOAV has highlighted the myriad of harms caused by IEDs, including death, injury, mental health injury and harm to the economies of affected areas. In September 2014, we brought together a group of experts for a roundtable at Chatham House, concluding that the next steps which must be taken in addressing IED harm are the following:
- Quantifying the impact of IEDs
- A review of current data collection efforts to record IED-related incidents
- An increased focus on the collection and dissemination of such data
- Developing an improved definition of exactly what is an IED
- Stigmatising the use of IEDs by non-state armed actors.
Such action to address the impacts of IEDs must be taken. The continuing use of IEDs globally, and the harm caused by incidents including the suicide bombing in Afghanistan, must be tackled.
Reports by AOAV show the increasing use and harm of suicide bombings around the world. It is a growing reality that highlights the need for urgent preventative measures that all States should establish – such as stockpile controls – to limit groups’ ability to produce these and other IEDs.
AOAV condemns Saturday’s attack in Afghanistan, and calls for states and international organisations to work collaboratively to generate greater awareness of the number of civilians killed and injured each year by IEDs, and encourage a greater stigma from political, religious and social leaders on the use of IEDs. AOAV strongly condemns the use of violence against civilians and calls upon all groups to reject the deliberate targeting of civilians. States must urgently address the threat of suicide bombings and other forms of IED attacks.
To read more about AOAV’s research into IEDs, please click here.
To see a short anti-suicide bomb film produced by AOAV, please click here.
Did you find this story interesting? Please support AOAV's work and donate.