Six killed while praying after gunman storms Afghanistan mosque

Mosque’s imam is among those killed in gunfire

Arpan Rai
Tuesday 30 April 2024 13:34 BST
Afghans gather at a mosque where gunmen attacked Shiite Muslims in Guzara district of Herat province
Afghans gather at a mosque where gunmen attacked Shiite Muslims in Guzara district of Herat province (AFP via Getty Images)

At least six people, including a child, were killed in Afghanistan’s Herat province after a gunman stormed a mosque, a Taliban official said on Tuesday.

The victims were offering prayers at the time of attack in the mosque which likely came under attack because it was a place of worship for the minority Shia Muslim community. The mosque’s imam was also among those killed, local media reports said.

An attacker entered the mosque and opened fire on Monday night in the Guzara district of northern Herat province, said Abdul Mateen Qani, a spokesperson for the Taliban’s Interior Ministry. The Taliban’s officials have launched an investigation, he added.

Another person was wounded in the attack when the attacker fled the mosque after opening fire, local reports said.

It is not immediately clear if the attacker belonged to any terrorist or militant group. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the attack on X: “I strongly condemn the attack on the Imam Zaman Mosque in Guzara district of Herat province.”

“I consider this terrorist act to be against all religious and human standards. I have expressed my deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this tragic incident,” the former Afghan president said.

The attack was also condemned by other officials in the region.

“UNAMA condemns last night’s attack on a Shia mosque in Herat which killed and wounded at least 7, including a child. As stated in UNAMA reporting: Investigations and accountability for perpetrators and protection measures for #Afghanistan’s Shi’a communities are urgently needed,” the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on X, formerly Twitter.

Afghanistan has seen a surge in terror attacks in the recent months after the Taliban took control of the country in August 2021 post the exit of the US and Nato forces.

The Taliban’s biggest rival in the region, Islamic State – Khorasan Province – an Isis affiliate, has frequently targeted and attacked schools, hospitals and mosques in Afghanistan after the departure of the US and Nato forces.

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