Attacks against places of worship in Afghanistan rise sharply: UN Report

Attacks against places of worship in Afghanistan rise sharply: UN Report

Kabul: The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said the country has seen a sharp increase in attacks against places of worship, religious leaders and worshippers, with civilian casualties since 2016 representing nearly double the cumulative number of the preceding seven years.
Since 1 January 2016, UNAMA has recorded 850 civilian casualties – 273 killed and 577 injured – in 51 attacks targeting places of worship, religious leaders and worshippers, the UN mission said in a special report on Tuesday.
Civilian casualties from these types of attacks since the beginning of 2016 represent nearly double the cumulative total documented between 2009 and 2015.
The report highlights a disturbing pattern of attacks by anti-government elements directed at civilians in places of worship. It also documents the targeted killings of religious scholars and leaders regarded as pro-government, as well as the targeted killing of security personnel amidst other worshippers inside mosques.
UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto, who is also the head of UNAMA, called on anti-government elements to respect the law, stop targeting worshippers and religious leaders. He also lauded the recent efforts of the Afghan government to protect places of worship and urged them to take all necessary measures to protect all Afghans, especially those vulnerable to sectarian attacks, to exercise their right to freedom of religion or belief and to worship in safety.
According to UN News, the report concludes with a series of recommendations, including a call for anti-government elements to immediately cease targeting worshippers and religious leaders.
AB/OIC-UNA