Bomb attack hits foreign convoy in Afghanistan
A bomb explosion has targeted a convoy of international troops near the airport in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, causing some casualties, security officials say.
“At around noon, a car bomb targeted a convoy of foreign forces in Daman area of Kandahar,” said provincial police spokesman Zia Durrani.
NATO also confirmed in a statement that a convoy was attacked and did “cause casualties.” US military spokesman in Kabul Damien Horvath also said they were trying to collect information.
Death toll from earlier blast in Herat rises
Shia Muslims are, meanwhile, preparing to take to the streets in the western city of Herat in protest to the authorities’ failure to protect them following a deadly bomb attack, which targeted a mosque on Tuesday night and has so far claimed the lives of at least 30 people, including young children.
Officials said the death toll had risen to 30 by Wednesday, saying it was expected to rise even further because many of those who were wounded in the bombing were in a critical condition. At least 64 people were injured in the blast.
The attack occurred when a man opened fire on worshipers gathered for evening prayers inside the 12th-century mosque known as Jama Mosque in Herat on Tuesday night before blowing himself up. A second explosion came 10 minutes later.
The locals who witnessed the attack said police abandoned them after the two assailants struck the mosque.
A man said there was a police checkpoint around 100 meters from the mosque. “They didn’t even try to stop the attackers. They all fled when they heard the blasts,” he said.
This sparked anger among people, who then clashed with the police and set the check post on fire, according to witnesses. They said police officers opened fire, injuring some people.
No group has so far claimed the responsibility for the bombings.
“We are going to bury the bodies this afternoon and then hit the streets demanding justice,” said the man. “I lost all my loved ones. They even killed children as young as seven. This wasn’t an attack on Shias, this was an attack on all Afghans, all Muslims.”
Meanwhile, authorities have tightened security ahead of a mass funeral for the victims of last night’s attack, which will be held on Wednesday afternoon. According to provincial spokesman Jilani Farhad, the planned Shia protest will also be held just before the victims’ burial.
Iran condemns Herat bombing
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Bahram Qassemi on Wednesday condemned the bombing in Herat.
Qassemi said that the people of Afghanistan had gone through decades of pain, and it was time that regional countries, international organizations, and the government of Afghanistan ended the violent situation that existed in Afghanistan.
He said Iran would stand by Afghans on the path to that goal.
At least three million Shias currently live in Afghanistan.
Daesh has claimed responsibility for several attacks on Afghan Shias in the past, including twin explosions in July 2016 that ripped through crowds of Shia Hazaras and killed at least 85 people and wounded more than 400.