Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 16th, 2019

Waves of Criticisms and Reactions to Attacks on Wedding Hall in Kabul

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Waves of Criticisms and Reactions  to Attacks on Wedding Hall in Kabul

This is the second dreadful attack within a month which targets west of Kabul civilians; the first attack targeted the security forces but more than 100 civilians and none civilians were killed or wounded too. The second attack happened last Saturday night in a wedding party where hundreds of people were killed or wounded. According to primary reports, at least 63 people have been killed and 183 civilians have been wounded in the attack. It seems that the numbers of causalities are going to increase as almost 1200 people were invited in the wedding Hall.
The attack on the wedding party was widely condemned by government leaders, politicians and foreign diplomats who called it a “terrorist attack” against Afghan civilians. However, the people are not satisfied with just oral denouncement of the officials and international friends; Many Afghan people, especially social network users call on the government to announce Monday as national mourning while millions of money has been invested to celebrate the hundredth Day of Independence in the same day. People extremely blame the security forces for inability, corruption and inattention to the sensitive security situation. They also blamed government for no serious measures against cruel attacks launched successively.
President Ghani also condemned the inhumane attack on the wedding hall. “My top priority, for now, is to assist the families of victims in the barbaric attack,” he said. “In response to this targeted attack, I have called an extraordinary security meeting to review and prevent such security lapses.”  Taliban also condemned the incidents which target women and children but Mr. Ghani said, “Taliban cannot absolve themselves as they pave the ground for such terrorist activities”.  Previously Taliban has claimed the responsibility of several attacks in Kabul while they had pledged to do more to protect civilians; it continues to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces what is seen by many as an attempt to strengthen its position at the negotiating table. The group says the election in Afghanistan has no legitimacy in the presence of foreign forces in the country.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah “strongly condemned the terrorist attack in a tweet” and said this “heinous and inhumane attack is a crime against humanity”. The European Union mission in Afghanistan said in a tweet that “whoever perpetrated or inspired the suicide blast at the Kabul wedding hall, are enemies of humanity”. It added that such acts are beyond condemnation. Iran and US Ambassador in Afghanistan John Bass also condemned the attack and said in a tweet that it was an act of “extreme depravity”.
Yet, no group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack, but both the Taliban and local affiliate of the Islamic State group carried out series of bloody attacks in the capital, especially in west of Kabul. In November of last year, a similar attack was carried out in a wedding hall in Kabul at least 55 people killed while most of them were Muslim religious scholars and clerics had gathered to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The Taliban had denied involvement in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State affiliate.
The Islamic State most often claimed the responsibility for such attacks on civilians. In fact, they made a habit of going after minority groups, particularly Shias. The Takfiri group aims to spread fear among the Afghan population, choosing targets which will inflict maximum civilian casualties. The Taliban, on the other hand, goes after the state, hoping to weaken the government and law enforcement as it tries to gain control of more territory.
The Takfiri group has tried to create sectarian division in the country, but failed to reach their sinister goal. Fortunately sectarian tensions have been relatively muted in the past but the relentless onslaught of Takfiri attacks could change the trend if the government and people lose its consciousness. Some of its fighters are foreigners, recruited from the ranks of the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Despite being an essentially foreign force, in the last couple of years it has been able to expand from Nangarhar province in the east to much of the north and northeast of the country. Therefore, the government has to make more efforts against terrorist groups as the terrorists have been unprecedentedly grown in few last year.
In general, the wests of Kabul, especially the Hazara residents have been successively attacked by Daesh Takfiri group. They carried out multiple attacks on mosques, educational centers, sports clubs, voters’ registration centers and other social gatherings. Thus, Hazara routes to central region became more insecure in recent years. According to UN reports, last year more than 3,800 civilian including more than 900 children, were killed in Afghanistan by the terrorist groups and other actors.  As a result, millions of people are forced to leave the country to known or unknown destination.
There are also some other analysis explaining why such attacks are carried on certain locations, certain people and certain time. From one hand, the government made a lot of preparation to celebrate the Independence Day, and on the other hand, the US-Taliban talks reached at a sensitive step. The attack could have several aims at the same time; first all of it may convey a message to Khalilzad that Taliban are not the only group who fight in Afghanistan. Secondly, it tried to interrupt the celebration of Independence Day and change the happiness to mourning. Thirdly, it targeted a certain group of people to ignite sectarian division in the country as they have always tried to do so.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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