KABUL -- Afghan terrorists flouted religious scholars' calls to respect Ramadan and instead took dozens of civilians lives during the holy month.
Ordinary Afghans, religious scholars, officials and civil society activists are reacting with outrage to the dozens of terrorist slayings.
"During this month, militants took the lives of dozens of fasting Afghan citizens," said Shakeeb Gheyasi, a resident of Kabul.
"If they were true in their claims of supporting Islam, the least they could do is to accept the request of religious scholars and avoid murdering defenseless citizens," he told Central Asia Online.
"During the holy month of Ramadan, the militants committed many heinous atrocities, such as kidnapping and shooting innocent bus passengers, targeting worshipers, and murdering women and children in Nangarhar Province," said Rased, a Kabul resident who asked to use only one name to prevent retribution by militants.
"Militant groups showed no regards for the sanctity of Ramadan, nor did they show any respect for women and children," he told Central Asia Online.
No justification for murdering Muslims in mosques
Terrorists continued their nonstop atrocities during a month they profess to venerate.
On June 10, a bomb exploded in a mosque in Nangarhar Province, killing four people, including the mosque's prayer leader.
One day later in Kabul, dozens of religious scholars and civil society activists held a news conference to condemn the militants' violent actions during Ramadan.
"Murdering Muslims while they are praying has no religious justification," Kabul-based religious scholar Mohammad Salem Hasani told Central Asia Online.
"Shedding the blood of Muslims is forbidden for all Muslims, but the militants have no regard for Islamic principles and provisions," he said.
"By targeting innocent people, especially in the mosque, the militants have practically announced their enmity with Islam and humanity," said Fahim Sediqi, chairman of the New Line Organisation, a Kabul-based NGO. "The government must avenge the blood of martyrs."
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) denounced the slaying of civilians during Ramadan, calling it "against international conventions".
Meanwhile, the Afghan government strongly denounced militant atrocities and issued 4m AFN (US $58,300) in total cash assistance to the families of the four dead and to the more than 70 injured survivors.
"Militants carry out what they have been ordered by their masters, and yet they claim to do so in the name of Islam," Farhad Seddiqi, a member of Afghan parliament, told Central Asia Online.
These criminal actions are unforgivable and have nothing to do with Islam, he added.
"Terrorists don't care about the killing of innocents or attacks on mosques during the holy month of Ramadan because they do not respect any Islamic or Afghan values," Ministry of Interior spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi told Central Asia Online.
Security forces thwart many attacks
The bloodshed could have been even worse, but Afghan troops thwarted dozens of terrorist plot, according to the National Directorate of Security.
On June 12, Afghan forces nabbed a terrorist with an explosives-rigged motorcycle who was planning a suicide bombing in Samangan Province, officials said. The following day, security forces arrested three suspected terrorists in Baghlan.
On June 26, security forces in Khost Province arrested 11 suspected members of the terrorist Haqqani Network who had possession of an explosive. On the same day, troops in Asadabad, Kunar Province, arrested a suspected would-be suicide bomber.
On June 28 in an unreported location, troops arrested four terrorists with two cars full of explosives, security officials said.
On June 29 in an unreported location, Afghan troops arrested Mulvi Namatullah, accused of being the Talib in charge of suicide attacks and bombings in Helmand Province, as well as two suspected accomplices. The trio plotted to carry out attacks during Ramadan, officials said.
Authorities stayed busy in July. They arrested nine suspected terrorists in Kandahar July 2 and halted a suspected would-be suicide bomber in Orgun, Paktika Province, July 3.