UN special rapporteur calls for protection of Afghanistan’s Shia community

The UN special rapporteur for Afghanistan human rights, Richard Bennett, has condemned the deadly suicide bombing at a mosque in Baghlan province on Friday, and emphasized the need to protect Afghanistan’s Shia community.

At least 18 worshipers were killed and dozens of others were wounded in the attack that took place during Friday prayers inside Imam Zaman mosque in the provincial capital city of Pul-e-Khumri.

The attack, which was claimed by the IS-Khorasan (Daesh), has been widely condemned both in the country and abroad.

While offering his condolences to the victims and their relatives, Bennett wrote on X: “Prevention, protection and accountability are needed for the Afghanistan Shia population that continues to be targeted.”

Afghanistan’s Shia community has been repeatedly targeted in public spaces including mosques, parks and educational centers. The attacks have mainly been claimed by Daesh.

However, the Taliban has downplayed the presence of Daesh and its activities in Afghanistan but a UN Security Council member states’ statement estimated the total number of fighters and family members associated with the group at 4,000 to 6,000 people in Afghanistan.