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At least 26 killed in twin bombing on wrestling session in Kabul

On September 5th 2018, a suicide bomber targeted a wrestling session in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The attack left at least 26 dead and 91 injured.

The first blast was caused by a suicide bomber and a second blast, a car bomb, went off outside. The second bomb is thought to have targeted first responders and journalists.

Two journalists from Tolo News, Afghanistan’s largest broadcaster, were among the dead and others were injured.

ISIS claimed the attack, which occurred in Dasht-e-Barchi, an area which has a large community of the Shia Muslim Hazara ethnic minority – who are frequently a target of ISIS attacks.

Such attacks are on the rise in Afghanistan. In the first half of 2018, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 2,002 civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan, compared to the 1,581 civilian casualties recorded in the same period last year – an increase of 27%.

From January to the end of June 2018, the main cause of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan continues to be improvised explosive devices (IEDs), responsible for 83% of all civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties from ISIS bombings in particular have seen a considerable increase. AOAV recorded a 345% increase in the number of civilian casualties from IED attacks claimed by ISIS and their affiliates in Afghanistan (136 to 605) in the first half of 2018.

With civilian casualties from IEDs increasing year-on-year in Afghanistan since 2013, 2017 saw a rise of 40% compared to the previous year. And, for the first time in AOAV’s recording, Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by IEDs – a spot claimed by Iraq for the previous six years.

With civilian casualties already set to be higher this year in Afghanistan, the level of IED harm should be of considerable concern.

AOAV 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. There is an urgent need for preventative measures to be implemented by States and the international community.