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Suicide attack kills at least 50 in Kabul who had gathered to mark Prophet Mohammed’s birth

On November 20th 2018, a suicide bomber detonated explosives amongst scholars and clerics who had gathered in a wedding hall in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed. The attack left at least 50 killed and another 83 injured. Of the wounded, 20 are said to be in a critical condition.

About 1,000 people were reported to be present in the complex at the time of the explosion.

Afghanistan’s President, Ashraf Ghani, condemned the attack and declared the following day a day of national mourning.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing in Kabul, where both the Taliban and ISIS have carried out such attacks on religious clerics. However, the Taliban has denied their involvement and condemned the attack.

In the first ten months of 2018, Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) recorded 40% rise in civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan, compared to the same period last year.

From January to the end of October 2018, the increase appears to stem from the rise in ISIS perpetrated violence, with a 150% rise in civilian casualties from ISIS’ improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – of which over 99% have been suicide attacks.

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.