Attack in Kabul leaves 14 Shia mourners dead

Oct 12, 2016, 2:25 AM EDT
(Source: Hassan Reza/flickr)
(Source: Hassan Reza/flickr)

At least 14 people were killed and more than two dozens injured on Tuesday after a gunman opened fire on a group of Shia Muslims that had gathered at a shrine in the Afghan capital, Kabul, to observe the holy day of Ashura. Although initial reports suggested the involvement of three gunmen the security forces could find only one attacker, who was gunned down at the scene of the assault.

A witness said that the assailant shot dead a policeman with his pistol and then took his A.K.-47 rifle to fire randomly on the mourners, reports Al Jazeera. The government had already warned the Shia community against gathering at public places following intelligence that such an attack could take place.

Shia Muslims, who are considered as apostates by the Taliban and Islamic State, constitute about 15 percent of Afghanistan’s population. Of late, the country has seen a dramatic surge in attacks on the Shia community, the most brutal being the Kabul attack in July, in which IS militants killed 84 people and injured 130 others, writes the BBC.

Tuesday’s attack came as Afghanistan scaled up military presence in the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, where Taliban fighters have been making threatening advances recently.