58 Dead in Afghanistan Attack

At least 58 people died in two suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan that targeted Shia Muslims, a local religious group who were celebrating their most holy day, Ashura, local media reported. The first bomb blast occurred in a shrine in the capital city Kabul, with a second bomb blast hitting the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif at about midday on Tuesday. No organization claimed responsibility for the bombs immediately after the blasts.

Afghanistan Attack

Shias and Sunnis are the two main groups of Muslims, while Sunnis constitute the majority of Afghanistan’s population. Historically, there are tensions between the two groups but it is the worst sectarian accident in Afghanistan since the Taliban rule was overthrown, and the deadliest bomb blast in Kabul since 2008.

Hundreds of people gathered to mark the festival of Ashura when the bomb hit Kabul, leaving at least 55 people dead and injuring over 160 others.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that for the first time terrorists are targeting people on such an important religious day. The festival of Ashura is devoted to the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hussein in the battle of Karbala in Iraq, which happened in the year 680. It marks the biggest holy day in the Shi’ite Muslim calendar, with hundreds of people participating in large processions across the country, which makes them vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

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