KABUL (Pajhwok): Many people have expressed deep concern over recent attacks on mosques in the country and have demanded of the government to take needed steps to prevent them.
The acting government says it has been making serious efforts to prevent such attacks and has thwarted many and has arrested their perpetrators.
Since March, 63 people have been killed and 155 others injured in attacks on six mosques in Kabul and provinces.
Six people were injured in a hand grenade attack on the Pul-i-Kheshti mosque in Kabul and in May a blast inside a Shiite mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, claimed the lives of 12 people and injured 41 others.
On April 22, 33 civilians, including children, were killed and 43 others wounded as a result of a blast at a religious seminary in the Imam Sahib district of northern Kunduz province.
Days after, ten people were killed and 30 others wounded in a blast inside a mosque in Kabul after Friday’s prayers.
Six people were killed and 18 others wounded when a blast ripped through a mosque during evening prayers in Kabul.
Daesh or Islamic state militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast in northern Balkh province.
Yesterday, one worshipper was killed and ten others wounded in a blast inside a mosque in the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province.
Engineer Zalmai Momenzai, a resident of Fazil Beg area of Kabul’s 5th police district, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the attacks on mosques were against the teachings of Islam and those committing such crimes were not Muslims.
According to him, the recent attacks on mosques have made people very anxious and some do not go to mosques out of fear.
He said, for example, “I was going home from the Kampani area in a passenger vehicle when two elderly men also embarked and said there was a bomb blast in the mosque at Qamar Square. We have no option but not go to mosque or go to less crowded mosques.”
Farid Stanekzai, a resident of Kart-e-Naw area of Kabul’s 8th police district, said such attacks were aimed at killing Muslims and sowing discord among Muslims.
He said such attacks were the handiwork of the enemies of Islam who wanted to spread fear among the people.
He added that due the attacks, the crowds in some mosques had decreased and a kind of fear was spreading among the people.
“Four people from our house go to Friday prayers. When we leave the house, we are told to stand at a distance from each other in the mosque because in case of a blast, some of us survive.”
Zia-ud-Din, a resident of Kunduz province, said the recent attacks on mosques had left people worried and called on the government to provide security for mosques and places of worship.
He added: “Recent attacks on mosques have spread fear among the people of Kunduz and people cannot go to mosques. Several explosions killed civilians. We want the government to ensure the security of mosques.”
Hashmatullah Abid, another resident of Kunduz, also expressed concern over the recent attacks on mosques, saying that the attacks on mosques had spread fear among the people.
He added: “Even though the mosque in our area is small, we are afraid. We urge the government to stop such attacks so that people can worship without fear.”
The attacks have also worried people in areas where attacks have not taken place.
Ghulam Saeed, a resident of Charikar in central Parwan province, says he goes to the mosque in fear.
Haji Qandagha, another resident of Parwan, also expressed concern over the recent attacks on mosques and condemned them strongly. “What kind of people they are who attack Muslims in mosques. They are not Muslim or human.”
But Akram Nabizada, a resident of Qala-e-Najra area of Kabul’s 11th police district, said that despite the recent attacks on mosques, he had not lost his courage and would never abandon going to the mosque.
“I am 35 years old, I have spent my whole life in war. I’m used to explosions and fights, I’m not afraid at all. Unexpected death does not come. It is better to become a martyr during prayers instead of dying on the bed. ”
What can be done to prevent attacks on mosques?
Those interviewed called on the government to strengthen intelligence and detection agencies, improve relations with the people and public opinion in order to prevent such attacks.
General Dawlat Waziri, a former spokesman for the Ministry of Defense and a military analyst, told Pajhwok Afghan News that there were many terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
“ISIS wants to earn a bad name to the Taliban. The groups in Pakistan do not want the current government in Afghanistan to progress.”
He said ISIS was responsible for some of the attacks in Afghanistan, but in his opinion, Daesh was not strong enough to carry out all these attacks.
“There will be other groups that carry out attacks in the name of ISIS … In order to show the situation worse, I think there are other groups, even I think Pakistan has a hand in it. There will be the hand of other opponents, there may be the hand of Iran.”
To the fact that most of these attacks took place on Shiite mosques, General Waziri said such attacks were aimed at sowing discord between the Sunni and Shiite sects.
“Afghanistan is the only country where historically there is no war between Shiites and Sunnis, but there are many differences between them in other countries.”
He said such attacks were carried out by the enemies of the Afghan people. “The people of Afghanistan should understand and finally move towards peace, to end the war, so that Afghanistan can prosper and its people can live in peace.”
The retired general said: “The leaders of the Islamic Emirate should pay attention to this. The people of Afghanistan need love, good condition and good manners. They must be treated well.”
Efforts to prevent attacks
Deputy spokesman of the caretaker government, Bilal Karimi said, these attacks were carried out by extremist elements under the guise of Daesh. He said these attacks were meant at disrupting the security of the people. “But their (Daesh)back has been broken.” He said 98 percent of Daesh affiliates had been eliminated and the rest being wiped out.
He said the overall security situation in the country was satisfactory and there was nothing to be worried about.
He said civilians were a soft target therefore they were attacked, adding that the caretaker government would make serious efforts to prevent such occurrences.
He said many such attacks had been thwarted and elements involved were either captured or killed.
He added that a few days ago, a mastermind of such attacks was arrested in Balkh, some were killed and others were killed in Nangarhar.
He added upon identification and detection of such acts by intelligence agencies, serious and decisive action was being taken.