Suicide attack targets predominantly Shia Muslim neighbourhood

suicide attack on an educational institute in the predominantly Shia Muslim neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi, Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed the lives of at least 19 people and injured at least 27 others on 30 September.

According to a statement from police spokesman Khalid Zadran, students were preparing for an exam at the Kaaj Educational Centre when the attack took place.

The neighbourhood of Dasht-e-Barchi is home to members of the Hazara community, who are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Afghanistan and are predominantly Shia. Hazaras have faced systematic discrimination and recurrent periods of targeted violence and enforced displacement. 

Concerns have increased for the community since the Taliban took control of the country in the weeks following the NATO withdrawal in August 2021. In September and October 2021, reports emerged of the Taliban “evicting” over 4,000 Hazara people from their homes in Daykundi province, and approximately 2,000 families were expelled from their homes by a local Taliban court in Mazar-e-Sharif. In October 2021, the bombings of Hazara mosques in Kunduz and Kandahar killed more than 100 people, and more than 47 people, respectively. 

In a statement issued by its Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Nabila Massrali, the European Union condemned the 30 September attack “in the strongest possible terms … Once again, terrorists target innocent civilians. This is another heinous crime and a violation of international humanitarian law. The EU calls on the de facto authorities to fulfil their obligations under international law to protect the population and bring perpetrators to justice.”

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “Our hearts go out to all who lost loved ones in this appalling attack. We assure them of our prayers and solidarity, and wish all those who were injured or traumatised a swift and full recovery. CSW also reiterates our call for the Afghan authorities to increase their efforts to contain and combat sectarianism and terrorism, including by ensuring that all citizens are treated equally and without discrimination.”