TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Over two dozen people were killed and more than 40 wounded on Monday after a Taliban-claimed car bomb attack struck a bus transporting government employees through a Shia neighborhood in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The bus was struck as it passed through a busy area of the capital that is home to many Shia Hazara, a persecuted ethnic community.
Multiple bodies and wounded people in the street, surrounded by shattered glass as security forces cordoned off the area.
The bus’s charred remains were left smoking in the middle of the road as the wounded were rushed to hospitals in ambulances as well as private cars and taxis.
“It was a huge explosion, my house nearly collapsed,” AFP quoted a neighborhood resident who gave his name as Mostafa, adding that the street was “filled with human flesh and blood.”
“It was horrible,” said shopkeeper Momin, adding, “It is a crowded area, many of my friends and other shopkeepers are either killed or wounded.”
Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast.
Monday’s attack in Kabul came as the Hazara community had planned to hold a protest in the same neighborhood to mark the one-year anniversary of twin bombings that killed over 80 people in an attack claimed by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group against the Shia community.
One year ago, a massive bomb blast killed at least 84 people, most of them Shia Hazaras, as they were holding a rally to demand better life conditions.
Also in mid-June, Takfiri terrorists killed several people and wounded several others in a bomb attack on a Shia mosque in Kabul. The casualties were caused after an assailant detonated his explosives when he was prevented from entering al-Zahra mosque in western Kabul. Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
In November, 2016, a bomber had blown himself up inside a Shia mosque in Kabul, killing at least 27 people and wounding dozens of others. The explosion happened at the Baqir-ul-uloom mosque in the Darul Aman area as people gathered for a religious ceremony.
Afghanistan is still suffering from insecurity and violence years after the US and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The military invasion removed the Taliban from power, but militancy still rages on in the country.
Hazara Shia community remains constant target in Pakistan
The latest attack on Shia Hazara community in the Afghan capital came days after heavily-armed gunmen riding on motorcycles shot dead at least four members of a Shia family and their driver in southwestern Pakistan.
The casualties were caused after gunmen sprayed bullets at the vehicle of the Hazara Shia family travelling to the southern port city of Karachi as they passed through Choto, a town about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the Balochistan provincial capital, Quetta.
Militants shoot dead four members of Shia family in southwestern Pakistan
Quetta, the largest city of Balochistan, has seen several bombings and shooting attacks over the past years. A large number of Shia Muslims have been killed in the attacks there.
Two militant attacks against the Shia Hazara community in Quetta killed nearly 200 people in early 2013.
It is believed that since the early 1990s until 2012, over 4,000 Pakistani Shias had been murdered in attacks, and at a pace which has rapidly accelerated in recent years.
Shias make up about one third of Pakistan's population of nearly 200 million.
Critics blame the Pakistani government and some elements within intelligence services for unwillingness to protect Shia Muslims and moderate Sunnis across the violence-wracked country.
International organizations and rights groups have urged the Pakistani government to take decisive action against the forces involved in the targeted killings.
Security has been a main issue for Shias since thousands of them have been killed as a result of militancy and hate attacks over the past decade.
In recent months, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is wreaking havoc mainly in Iraq and Syria, has been making inroads in Pakistan and Afghanistan through alliances with local militant outfits.