At least 63 people were killed in a series of bomb attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday during ceremonies marking the Shiite holiday of Ashura in three different targeted locations, but the majority of the deaths occurred in Kabul. A Pakistani group claimed responsibility for this sudden and ominous outbreak of sectarian violence.
CNN’s video of the reaction to the blast in Kabul follows the excerpt below. —KA
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a Punjabi group with a long history of cooperation with Pakistani’s intelligence service, as well as close ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is made up of Sunni extremists who believe in the extermination of Shiites and has helped drive the rampant sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni groups in Pakistan.
Sectarian attacks timed to this holiday, Ashura, have bedeviled Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, but had been unknown in Afghanistan since the American-led invasion in 2001. The day marks the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who is revered by Shiites. Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, mostly ethnic Hazaras, suffered savage discrimination under the years of Taliban rule, but had not been singled out for attack since.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, condemned the attacks and called the perpetrators “enemies.”