By Jennifer Dathan
On Friday, August 3rd 2018, a suicide attack on a Shia mosque in Gardez city, in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, left at least 48 dead and over 70 injured.
Two suicide bombers, said to be disguised in burkas, carried out the attack which has been claimed by ISISthrough their Amaq news agency.
In comments by UNAMA chief, Tadamichi Yamamoto, on the incident he stressed that, “such attacks directed against congregations and places of worship are serious violations of international law that may amount to war crimes.”
Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) has been monitoring explosive violence harm across the globe since October 2010.
In the first half of 2018, Action on Armed Violence recorded 2,002 civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan, compared to the 1,581 civilian casualties recorded in the same period last year – an increase of 27%.
From January to the end of June 2018, the main cause of civilian casualties from explosive violence in Afghanistan continues to be improvised explosive devices (IEDs), responsible for 83% of all civilian casualties.
Civilian casualties from ISIS bombings in particular have seen a considerable rise. AOAV recorded a 345% increase in the number of civilian casualties from IED attacks claimed by ISIS and their affiliates in Afghanistan (136 to 605) in the first half of 2018.
With civilian casualties from IEDs increasing year-on-year in Afghanistan since 2013, 2017 saw a rise of 40% compared to the previous year. And, for the first time in AOAV’s recording, Afghanistan was the country worst impacted by IEDs – a spot claimed by Iraq for the previous six years.
With civilian casualties already set to be higher this year in Afghanistan, the level of IED harm should be of considerable concern.
AOAV calls for states and international organisations to work collaboratively to generate greater awareness of the number of civilians killed and injured each year by IEDs, and encourage a greater stigma from political, religious and social leaders on the use of IEDs. There is an urgent need for preventative measures to be implemented by States and the international community.