Islamic State claims attack on Shiite center, 41 dead

An Afghan man, center, cries as he's pulled away from the scene of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A brutal attack claimed by the Islamic State group devastated a two-story Shiite Muslim cultural center in the Afghan capital on Thursday, killing at least 41 people and wounding another 84, many suffering severe burns from the intensity of the explosions.

The ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency said three bombs were used in the ferocious assault as well as a single suicide bomber who blew himself up inside the center, where scores of people had gathered to mark the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union.

The claim reflects eyewitness reports that said one bomber sneaked into the center and exploded his device. Other explosions occurred outside the building, which also houses the pro-Iranian Afghan Voice news agency, which may also have been a target in the attack.

Earlier, Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said an unknown number of suicide attackers set off an explosion outside the center before carrying out an attack inside.

In its statement to Aamaq news agency, the IS said the center was being funded by Iran and used to propagate Shiite beliefs.

Ali Reza Ahmadi, a journalist with the Afghan Voice, told The Associated Press he had been in his office when the explosion shattered the building. He leapt from his second-story office to the roof of the building where he saw flames from the basement.

“I jumped from the roof toward the basement yelling at people to get water to put out the fire,” he said.

Shiite leader Abdul Hussain Ramazandada said witnesses reported at least one suicide bomber sneaked into the event and was sitting among the participants. He exploded his device and as people fled more explosions occurred, he said.

At nearby Istiqlal Hospital, director Mohammed Sabir Nasib said the emergency room was overwhelmed with the dead and wounded. Additional doctors and nurses were called in to help and at the height of the tragedy more than 50 doctors and nurses were working to save the wounded, most of whom suffered severe burns.

Afghans carry an injured woman at the hospital after a suicide attack on a Shiite cultural center in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/ Rahmat Gul)

The death toll rose as the day progressed. By late afternoon Wahid Mujro, spokesman for the public health ministry, said 41 were dead and 84 others were wounded.

The two-story cultural center is located in a poor area of the Shiite-dominated Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood in the west of the capital. The center is a simple structure surrounded by sun-dried mud homes where some of Kabul’s poorest live.

In an interview with The Associated Press, a senior member of the Shiite cleric council, Mohammad Asif Mesbah, said the center may have been targeted because it houses the deeply pro-Iranian Afghan Voice news agency. Its owner Sayed Eissa Hussaini Mazari is a strong proponent of Iran and his publication is dominated by Iranian news. Iran is a majority Shiite Muslim nation.

The local Islamic State affiliate has carried out several attacks targeting Shiites in Afghanistan. The IS issued a warning earlier this year following an attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Kabul vowing to target Afghanistan’s Shiites. Since then, the IS has taken credit for at least two attacks on Shiite mosques in Kabul and one in the western city of Herat, killing scores of worshippers.

In a telephone interview with The AP, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid denied involvement in Thursday’s attack on the cultural center.

The IS affiliate, made up of Sunni extremists, view Shiites as apostates. The IS in Afghanistan is a toxic mix of Uzbek militants belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan who broke with the Taliban, as well as disenchanted insurgents who left the much larger and more well-established Taliban.

‘Crime against humanity’

As attacks targeting Shiites have increased in Kabul, residents of this area have grown increasingly afraid. Most schools have additional armed guards from among the local population. Still, Ramazandada said security at the cultural center was light.
Afghan president Ashraf Ghani called the attack a “crime against humanity.”

In a statement released by the presidential palace, Ghani said: “The terrorist have killed our people. The terrorists have attacked our mosques, our holy places and now our cultural center.” He called them attacks against Islam and “all human values.”

In a statement, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass, called the attack “horrific” and said “we remain confident the Afghan government and people, supported by their friends and partners, will defeat those behind these terrible acts.”

Separately, Dawlat Abad District Gov. Mohammad Karim said a powerful mine killed six shepherd children ranging in age from 8 to 10 on Wednesday.

Afghanistan has the highest number of mine victims in the world, which along with other roadside bombs, kill or wound an estimated 140 people every month.

Elsewhere, a Taliban attack on a security police post in central Ghazni province Wednesday night left three police dead and one other wounded, said Mohammad Zaman, provincial chief of police.

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  • Coalition teams have found ISIS members on the battlefields from over 50 Countries, to include US and Europe, so there must be enough Islamic clerics and academics teaching this brand of Islam very effectively.

  • IN MEMORY OF The Massacred & Assassinated Whom My God & Jesus Shall Avenge!

    (1) Josh Rogin, “America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS”, Daily Beast, June 14, 2014.

    (2) Seumas Milne, “Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq: The sectarian terror group won’t be defeated by the western states that incubated it in the first place”, Guardian, June 3, 2015.

    (3) Nafeez Ahmed, “NATO is harbouring the Islamic State: Why France’s brave new war on ISIS is a sick joke, and an insult to the victims of the Paris attacks”, Medium, November 19, 2015.

  • Your article is weak and does not address the bigger picture. You will always find big business profiting off of war and everything else in life, whether we win or lose wars. And people all over the world, including the Middle East, with a dollar in their pocket, invest in Western Markets. The guns of choice for all these terrorist organizations is the Kalashnikov rifle.

    As far as Syria and Iraq, even back in the 1988, Saddam’s chemical attack on Halabaja’s Kurds, the know-how and material for developing chemical weapons were obtained by Saddam’s regime from foreign sources.[22] Most precursors for chemical weapons production came from Singapore (4,515 tons), the Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and West Germany (1,027 tons). One Indian company, Exomet Plastics, sent 2,292 tons of precursor chemicals to Iraq. Singapore-based firm Kim Al-Khaleej, affiliated to the United Arab Emirates, supplied more than 4,500 tons of VX, sarin and mustard gas precursors and production equipment to Iraq.[23] Dieter Backfisch, managing director of West German company Karl Kolb GmbH, was quoted by saying in 1989 that “for people in Germany poison gas is something quite terrible, but this does not worry customers abroad.”[22]– Wikipedia with sources and references.

    Now please explain all these guys, who funds them, supports them, supplies their weapons, whom specifically do they work for, and what is their specific collective cause?

    – Abdullah Azzam Brigades

    • Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas Forces

    • Abu Nidal Organization

    • Abu Sayyaf

    • Ajnad Misr

    • Al-Abbas Fighting Division

    • Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades

    • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya

    • Al-Ghalibun

    • Al-Muhajiroun in East Africa

    • Al-Muhajirun

    • Al-Mulathamun Battalion

    • Al-Qaeda

    • Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

    • Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

    • Al-Qassam Brigades

    • Al-Shabaab

    • Ansar al-Dine

    • Ansar al-Islam

    • Ansar al-Sharia (Libya)

    • Ansar al-Sharia (Tunisia)

    • Ansar Allah al-Awfiya

    • Ansar Bait al-Maqdis

    • Ansaru

    • Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya

    • Army of Islam

    • Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq

    • Badr Organization

    • Boko Haram

    • Caucasus Emirate

    • Fatah al-Islam

    • Fawj al-Imam al-Hujja

    • Faylaq al-Karar

    • Faylaq al-Wa’ad al-Sadiq

    • Green Battalion

    • Hamas

    • Harakat al-Abdal

    • Harakat al-Nujaba

    • Harakat al-Sabireen

    • Harakat al-Shaheed al-Awal

    • Harakat Ansar Allah (Yemen)

    • Harakat Fajr al-Sham al-Islamiya

    • Harakat Sham al-Islam

    • Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami

    • Harkat-ul-Mujahideen

    • Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

    • Hezbollah

    • Hezbollah al-Abrar

    • Hezbollah al-Ghalibun

    • Hezbollah al-Tha’irun

    • Hezbollah the Mujahideen in Iraq

    • Hezbollah- The Islamic Revolution in Iraq

    • Hizb-ut-Tahrir

    • Imam Ali Fighting Division

    • Imam Bukhari Battalion

    • Indian Mujahideen

    • Islamic Army in Iraq

    • Islamic Jihad Union

    • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

    • Islamic Muthanna Movement

    • Islamic State

    • Ja’afari Force

    • Jabhat al-Nusra

    • Jabhat Ansar al-Din

    • Jabhat Fatah al-Sham

    • Jaish-e-Mohammed

    • Jamaat al-Itisam bil-Kitab wa al-Sunna

    • Jamaat al-Murabiteen

    • Jamaat Bait al-Maqdis al-Islamiya

    • Jamaat Jund al-Islam

    • Jamaat Jund al-Qawqaz

    • Jamaat Jund al-Sham

    • Jaysh al-Jihad

    • Jaysh al-Mu’ammal

    • Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar

    • Jaysh al-Mukhtar

    • Jaysh al-Ummah fi Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis

    • Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham

    • Jaysh Wilayat al-Faqih

    • Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid

    • Jemaah Islamiyah

    • Jund al-Aqsa

    • Jundallah (Iran)

    • Junud al-Mahdi

    • Junud al-Sham

    • Kata’ib A’imat al-Baqi’

    • Kata’ib Ahrar al-Iraq

    • Kata’ib al-Ahad al-Sadiq al-Jadid

    • Kata’ib al-Aqila Zainab

    • Kata’ib al-Difa’ al-Muqaddas

    • Kata’ib al-Fatah al-Mubin

    • Kata’ib al-Ghadab

    • Kata’ib al-Imam al-Gha’ib

    • Kata’ib al-Imam al-Hussein

    • Kata’ib al-Imam Ali

    • Kata’ib al-Imam Musa bin Ja’afar

    • Kata’ib al-Jaysh al-Fatimi

    • Kata’ib al-Muqawama al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq

    • Kata’ib al-Qiyam al-Husseini

    • Kata’ib al-Sabirun

    • Kata’ib al-Shaheed al-Awal

    • Kata’ib al-Shaheed al-Awal: Quwat al-Buraq

    • Kata’ib al-Shaheed Zayd al-Tha’ir

    • Kata’ib al-Tayyar al-Risali

    • Kata’ib al-Zahara’

    • Kata’ib Ansar al-Hijja

    • Kata’ib Ansar al-Hijja (2)

    • Kata’ib Ansar al-Madhhab

    • Kata’ib Ansar al-Wilaya

    • Kata’ib Ansar Allah

    • Kata’ib Assad Allah al-Ghalib

    • Kata’ib Assad Allah in Iraq

    • Kata’ib Dir’ al-Wilaya

    • Kata’ib Hezbollah

    • Kata’ib Jund al-Imam

    • Kata’ib Jund Allah al-Ghalibun

    • Kata’ib Rayat al-Huda

    • Kata’ib Rijal Allah al-Ghalibun

    • Kata’ib Ruh Allah

    • Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada

    • Kata’ib Thawrat al-Abbas

    • Kata’ib Zaynab al-Kubra

    • Katibat al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad

    • Katibat Jabal al-Islam

    • Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

    • Lashkar-e-Taiba

    • Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

    • Lions of the Caliphate

    • Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas

    • Liwa Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas: Iraq Formation

    • Liwa al-Baqir

    • Liwa al-Fatemiyoun

    • Liwa al-Imam al-Hussein

    • Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi

    • Liwa al-Imam al-Qa’im

    • Liwa al-Imam Muhammad al-Jawad al-Awal

    • Liwa al-Imam Zain al-Abidin

    • Liwa al-Karama

    • Liwa al-Mu’ammal

    • Liwa al-Muntaẓar

    • Liwa al-Qa’im

    • Liwa al-Sadiqeen

    • Liwa al-Shabab al-Risali

    • Liwa al-Shahada

    • Liwa al-Tawheed

    • Liwa al-Youm al-Maw’ud

    • Liwa Ali al-Akbar

    • Liwa Ansar al-Marja’iyya

    • Liwa Assad Allah al-Ghalib

    • Liwa Assad Allah al-Ghalib (Iraq)

    • Liwa Dhu al-Fiqar

    • Liwa Fatyan Bani Hashim

    • Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk

    • Liwa Youm al-Qa’im

    • Liwa Zainebiyoun

    • Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen (Gaza-Sinai)

    • Manẓamat Ansar Allah

    • Martyr Sadr Forces

    • Martyr Sadr Forces Formations

    • Moro Islamic Liberation Front

    • Mujahideen Army (Iraq)

    • Mujahideen of Iraq Brigade

    • Muslim Brotherhood

    • Naqshbandi Army

    • National Ideological Resistance in Syria

    • Palestine Liberation Front

    • Palestinian Islamic Jihad

    • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

    • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command

    • Quwat al-Kadhimain al-Qitaliya

    • Quwat al-Ridha

    • Quwat Zaynab al-Kubra

    • Rapid Intervention Regiment

    • Saraya al-Ashtar

    • Saraya al-Imam

    • Saraya al-Jihad

    • Saraya al-Khorasani

    • Saraya al-Mukhtar

    • Saraya al-Salam

    • Saraya Ansar al-Aqeeda

    • Saraya Aqa’idiyun

    • Saraya Ashura

    • Suqur al-Izz

    • Taliban

    • Tanẓim Ansar al-Tawheed fi Bilad al-Hind

    • Tashkil al-Hussein al-Tha’ir

    • Tashkilat Asad Baghdad

    • Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

    • Turkestan Islamic Party

  • It is easy for you to be brave or take a cheap shot at me from behind your computer, but you have resolved nothing.

    “My God and Jesus shall avenge!” Talk about herd mentality! When the Church ruled Europe, it was called the “dark ages” well into the “middle ages” for a reason. The Church has been on the wrong side of history throughout the centuries– from manifest destiny to the slave trade to the Americas, from the inquisitions to the Vatican neutrality while millions of Europeans were being exterminated in WWII. Even when I was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, we had clerics come out to the field to bless us, while we were tearing the behinds off these people and dropping cancer causing chemicals on their crops and jungles. And, as always, your concept of God protected not a man, woman, or child, nor all the creatures that died horrible deaths in the jungle.

  • TRUE: My God & Jesus shall avenge the dead & living victims of the Shiite center massacre.

    TRUE: “The Church has been on the wrong side of history throughout the centuries”.

    TRUE: “[peepsqueek] fighting in the jungles of Vietnam … [ended up] tearing the behinds off the[ir] people and dropping cancer causing chemicals on their crops and jungles … [and many] a man, woman … child … died horrible deaths in the jungle.”

    TRUE: My God & Jesus shall avenge the dead & living victims of the Vietnam War & its war crimes.

  • Are you under the delusion that the good are always rewarded and the bad are always punished? Good and bad are concepts, just like God is a concept and not a real physical entity that controls the entire universe.

    If you get lost in the jungle, there no God that cares if you eat the animals or if the animals eat you, because everything has to eat. God does not care if you step on a poisonous snake, bit by a poisonous spike, drink bad water, or die of exposure. As we all know, praying does not put food on the table for much of the world’s population. It does not make who is right or wrong if you cannot find food or medicine. Mother nature will take you out faster than anybody.

  • No such thing as such good versus evil scenario – nor rewarded vs punished – not even such just-is-as-is scenario. Just God & Jesus versus everybody else and everything else in (pre- and post- and as-is) existence, seen & unseen.

  • Why don’t you just say that you are delusional, which makes more sense.
    adjective: delusional—-characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.

  • Better with names, actually.

    You do the connecting of the dots about Gladio B from these researchers:

    Sibel Edmonds, James Corbett & Michel Chossudovsky.