Afghanistan: 2017 Registers as One of its Most Violent Years


The Persian new year, known in Afghanistan as Nauruz, is a national holiday, and the country's minority Shiites typically celebrate by visiting shrines.

Kabul had been on alert for attacks over the Nawruz holiday but the bomber was still able to detonate his explosives as people were leaving the Kart-e Sakhi shrine, in the west of the city.

News reports quoted the interior ministry as saying that a suicide bomber had detonated his explosives while walking among a group of people.

The Islamic State group's local franchise in Afghanistan claimed responsibility for the assault in the heavily Shiite neighbourhood - the fifth suicide bombing in the Afghan capital in recent weeks - via the messaging app Telegram.

"What makes this attack particularly reprehensible is the fact that the terrorists and their backers chose the festive day of Nauroz to carry out their heinous act", it said.

Qasemi also sympathized with Afghanistan government and people.

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Approximately 100 students assembled in the gymnasium commons and stood quietly for 17 minutes before returning to class. Others could choose to send messages to state or national legislators or send 17 "act of kindness" emails.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a statement condemned the attack, calling it a "crime against humanity". "All the casualties were young people who were either passing by on the road or gathering to enjoy Nowruz".

He said that an investigation into the security breach is underway.

Waheed Majroh, a spokesman for the ministry of public health, said 32 people were confirmed dead with more than 50 wounded being treated in hospitals in the city.

The site was reportedly bustling with people heading to the facility for their New Year prayers.

The Taliban controls large swathes of Afghanistan and Islamic State terrorists hold sway in a much smaller number of districts.

"Kabul is our main effort right now, to harden Kabul, to protect the people of Kabul and the worldwide community that are here because of the strategic impact that has and the importance to the campaign", Nicholson said. The Taliban issued a statement denying any connection. Since then thousands of civilians have been killed in the bloody fighting between the US-backed Afghan government forces and the armed group.