At Least 42 Dead In Attack On Culture Center In Kabul
With another bloody attack, the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) has killed at least 41 people and injured 84 others in the Afghan capital. Also an assassin died.
The man had blown up himself Thursday morning in a cultural center - when people rushed to help, two more bombs had been detonated in front of the house, said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
A representative of the community, Mohammed Ali, spoke of more than 50 dead in the evening. "No one sitting in this basement room came out of it safely," he said. "Everyone is dead or injured now."
The TV station Tolo TV reported that there had been an academic event in the house at the time of the attack, which was about the 38th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. There were pictures and videos on social media showing a blood-soaked carpet and splintered black folding chairs. On others, motionless bodies could be seen in the courtyard of the house. Interior Ministry spokesman said in a press conference that most of the victims were "knowledge-hungry young people".
The IS reported via the usual channels on the Internet to speak. Apparently he had targeted the Tabian Cultural Center for his contacts with Iran. His statement declared that the center was one of the "major centers for promoting Shiite faith in Afghanistan." Shiite Iran has recruited thousands of fighters to fight the Sunni IS in Syria - including Afghanistan. The website of the Tabian Center states that it also has an office in Iran's Mashad.
The attack happened in a Shiite district of the city. There, the IS has committed several serious attacks in recent months. Not far from the scene, in October, he sent a suicide bomber to a Shiite mosque. 71 people died. In its two most recent reports on the civilian casualties of the war, the UN has highlighted the wave of ISIS attacks on Shiites as "disturbing" and warned that it is trying to spark conflicts between religious groups.
ISIS has committed as many, if not more, attacks in Kabul this year than the radical Taliban, who are far stronger in number than the terrorist militia. Many attacks were particularly cruel, as was the seven-hour shootout in the country's largest military hospital in April. The terrorists had thrown hand grenades into patient beds. According to official figures, 49 people died. Unofficial estimates assume twice as many deaths. In addition, in the past few weeks the IS has twice sent off children as suicide bombers.
The cruelty and force of the IS attacks does not fit in with the official portrayal of the government and its international allies, who fought the IS sharply from the start and like to talk it down. The Supreme Commander of NATO and the US troops in Afghanistan had recently said that 1600 IS fighters had been killed since the spring. Previously, international military had said that there are probably no more than 700 fighters left.
In its July semi-annual report on civilian casualties in July, the UN had warned that IS had killed more than twice as many civilians in the first six months of 2017 than in the same period in 2016.
The number and impact of attacks by the IS and the Taliban in the capital also contradicts the presentation of the federal government, which continues to postpone rejected asylum seekers to Kabul and to a limited extent in August, saying that since end of 2014 the threat situation for civilians in Afghanistan "have not changed significantly".
Already from 2015 to 2016, according to the UN, the number of civilian victims of attacks in Kabul has risen by 68 percent. Since January 2017, there have been more than 20 serious attacks. More than 500 people were killed. The number of dead and injured together is well over 1000. In the worst attack in front of the German Embassy in May alone had killed around 150 people.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the UN and the NATO Resolute Support mission strongly condemned the attack. Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "This insidious terror is directed against education, against free media and against anyone who thinks and decides independently. The intention behind this is to bring discord and unrest into Afghan society. This evil seed must not rise. We continue to be on the side of Afghanistan and will not let up in our commitment. "
In northern Afghanistan, six children died on Thursday morning when one stepped on an explosive device hidden on the street. The children had kept animals. The Taliban are deploying thousands of such explosives nationwide to stop troop movements, but often kill civilians. According to the latest UN report on the civilian casualties of the war, more than 800 civilians were killed or injured by these booby traps between January and the end of September - a third of them children.