Explosive violence in Afghanistan

Suicide bomber kills dozens in Shia mosque in Afghanistan, the second such attack in a week

At least 35 people were killed and 45 wounded in an explosion inside a Shia mosque in Kandahar during Friday prayers. This attack on 15 October marks the second suicide bombing to target a Shia mosque in Afghanistan in one week, intensifying concerns that extremist groups are gaining strength across the country in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover.

Estimates by local hospital officials place the casualty numbers at 37 killed and 70 wounded. The death toll is expected to rise.

There has been no claim of responsibility yet for this most recent explosion in Kandahar’s Bibi Fatima mosque.

One week ago, on 8 October, a suicide bomber of the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) killed and injured over 100 worshippers in a Shia mosque in Kunduz city. ISKP was also responsible for the suicide attack at the gates of Kabul airport on 26 August, during the final hours of evacuation flights by NATO forces.

ISKP is a Sunni extremist group that has had a long history of attacks in the country’s east, specifically on Hazara, Shiite muslims, but rarely in the southern provinces, such as Kandahar.

AOAV has recorded 84 attacks by the Islamic State in Afghanistan since 2016, causing a total of 3,996 casualties, of whom 90% (3,607) have been civilians. 13 of the 84 incidents have occurred in a place of worship, where 986 civilians have been killed or injured as a result.