Explosive violence in AfghanistanAOAV: all our reports

21 killed and 33 injured in suicide bombing at Kabul mosque, Afghanistan, 17 Aug.

During evening prayers on Wed 17 August, a suicide bomber attacked Abu Bakr al Sadiq mosque in Kabul’s Khair Khana area. The huge explosion is known to have killed at least 21 and injured at least 33 people so far. 

The mosque’s imam is among the deceased, and at least five children are among the injured. Nearby buildings were damaged in the blast. 

Witnesses claim it was a suicide attack, and that the IED must have been detonated inside the mosque during prayers. According to the head of the medical charity Emergency, the injuries are predominantly due to shrapnel and burns. 

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but ISIS-K, the group’s Afghanistan-based affiliates, targeted a Taliban cleric in a suicide attack last week, and has staged multiple attacks on places of worship since the Taliban take-over a year ago. 

In 2022 so far, AOAV has recorded 68 incidents of explosive weapon use in Afghanistan, and 921 reported civilian casualties (311 killed, 610 injured). At least 60 children and nine women are among the civilian casualties. 

The number of incidents, and civilian casualties, spikes in April, and looks to be spiking in August, two holy months in the Muslim calendar: Ramadam was celebrated from 2 April to 1 May, and the holy month of Muharram is observed from 30 July. 

Three of the recorded incidents have been reported as suicide attacks, and they caused 22% of civilian casualties. The three suicide attacks recorded in 2022 occurred on 29 April, 11 August, and 17 August. 

Since 2010, AOAV has recorded 579 incidents of suicide explosive violence in Afghanistan, or 12% of the total 5,032 incidents recorded in that time. Suicide attacks in Afghanistan have resulted in 15,765 civilian casualties, 47% of the total 33,215 civilian casualties recorded in that time. 

Globally, AOAV has recorded 2,383 incidents of explosive weapon use reported as suicide attacks since 2010, or 7% of the total 39,973 recorded incidents of explosive weapon use. Attacks reported as suicide attacks have caused 69,370 civilian casualties, or 23% of the total 299,413 recorded civilian casualties of explosive weapon use in that time. 

Civilians account for 80% of globally reported casualties when explosive weapons have been used in suicide attacks.

AOAV’s casualty figures represent the lowest of estimations in terms of the number of people killed and injured by explosive weapon use. In an effort to quantify the explicit harm caused by specific explosive weapons, AOAV solely records incident-specific casualty figures, as reported in English-language media.

AOAV condemns the use of violence against civilians and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. All actors should stop using explosive weapons with wide-area effects where there is likely to be a high concentration of civilians.