The Islamic State of Khorasan released an online statement claiming responsibility for bombing a Shi’ite cultural centre at Kabul which 41 people and wounded 84 others. Most of the victims were students who were attending a panel discussion on the Soviet invasion of Sunni- majority Afghanistan.
The statement read that the centre was attacked because it had been receiving support from Iran. The terror attack which was carried out by suicide bombers who stormed the Tabian Social and Cultural Centre which is one of the largest centres of Shi’ism in Afghanistan. The centre also sends youths to Iran for academic training.
The militant Islamic group views Shi’ism as heresy and Iran which is predominantly Shi’ite, one of its enemies.
Thursday’s attack was the latest among the Islamic State’s actions versus Shi’ite targets in the Afghan capital.
Last November, gunmen disguised as police opened fire at a privately- owned television station killing a security guard and wounding 20 others. The attack was also claimed by the Islamic State of Khorasan.
Since 2016, there had been 12 attacks on Shi’ite targets. According to the United Nations, an estimated 700 people were either wounded or killed.
The Islamic State of Khorasan has its origins traced back to 2015. The movement has steadily grown and expanded its reach but security officials believe it has received assistance from other terror groups in order to carry out its attacks.
Zabihullah Mujahid who is a spokesman for the Taliban, denied their group’s involvement in the attack.
Toby Lanzer, Acting Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan condemned the attack:
“I have little doubt that this attack deliberately targeted civilians. Today in Kabul, we have witnessed another truly despicable crime in a year already marked by unspeakable atrocities.”
The United States issued a statement that the government would work with Afghanistan to find and punish the terrorists:
“The enemies of Afghanistan will not succeed in their attempts to destroy the country and divide the Afghan people.”
The United States has long supported international combat missions in Afghanistan. With the assistance of U.S. air strikes, Afghan forces have pushed back the Taliban into other areas and away from the country’s major urban centres.
But Islamic militants have remained resilient and continued their terrorist activities in the big cities. These attacks have forced President Ashraf Ghani to further tighten up security measures which so far have included reinforcing Kabul with concrete blast walls and police checkpoints.