6 years after deadly ISIS mosque attack in Herat, grieving families fear future violence

By Emran

Zahra Hussaini, 38, became a widow six years ago when her husband, Mohammad Nabi Rezayee, was tragically killed during an ISIS attack on the Javadia mosque in Herat city. Since then, she has been the sole caregiver for her four children, with her eldest son being just 12 years old at the time of his father's death. [Emran/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- Zahra Hussaini, 38, lost her husband six years ago in a deadly "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) attack on the Javadia mosque in Herat city, and has been caring for her four children alone since then.

Mohammad Nabi Rezayee was killed as he took part in the evening prayers at Javadia mosque, leaving Hussaini a widow and her two daughters and two sons, the oldest of whom was just 12, fatherless.

About 40 Shia worshippers were killed and more than 60 others were injured in the bloody August 1, 2017, attack.

Six years later, Hussaini said she is still grieving the loss of her husband.

Zahra Hussaini on September 26 holds a picture of her late husband, Mohammad Nabi Rezayee, who was killed six years ago in an ISIS attack at a mosque in Herat city. [Emran/Salaam Times]

Zahra Hussaini on September 26 holds a picture of her late husband, Mohammad Nabi Rezayee, who was killed six years ago in an ISIS attack at a mosque in Herat city. [Emran/Salaam Times]

"Every time I am reminded of that attack, I cry and become very uncomfortable," she said. "ISIS martyred my husband while I was young, and with his loss, I also lost all my dreams."

"My husband was a poor man who earned a living by driving a rickshaw," she told Salaam Times.

"We were able to make ends meet, but after his martyrdom, our life turned upside down. This incident ruined our lives, and now our relatives support us."

Hussaini said her 18-year-old daughter has suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome since the death of her father.

Each time she hears an explosion or something loud, Hussaini said, her daughter is reminded of the Javadia explosion and the loss of her father and she faints.

"I am still fearful of ISIS attacks," Hussaini said. "I am so worried every time my children leave the house. I keep praying that they return home safely."

"This group is brutal and spares no one," she added. "ISIS killed many young people, destroying many families. Like me, many women have lost their children and spouses to ISIS attacks, ruining their lives."

Fears of ISIS attacks

Rezayee's cousin, Mohammad Ibrahim, a shopkeeper, said he also is worried that ISIS will once again target him and his relatives.

"ISIS is still active in Afghanistan" despite claims that the extremist group has been eliminated, he said. "It is possible that it will once again kill civilians."

"We saw that many mosques, schools and people in Kabul, Herat and other provinces have been attacked in the past two years, " he said. "I am still afraid that such bloody incidents will recur."

"Every time I see a crowd in the city or go to a mosque, I am afraid of an ISIS attack," he told Salaam Times.

"ISIS attacks in the past few years have taken peace away from the people," he said. "Everyone is worried about a recurrence of such attacks."

"ISIS is a ruthless group and enemy of the people of Afghanistan," he added.

Herat city resident Jafar Hussaini, 35, lost his father-in-law in the Javadia mosque bombing.

Now, every time he goes to the mosque, he said, he is worried about another ISIS attack on worshippers.

"Unfortunately, ISIS nests still exit in Afghanistan," he told Salaam Times.

"There is no assurance that it will not attack mosques and schools again. We have witnessed four ISIS attacks on civilians in our area in the last couple of years," he said. "All the victims were civilians."

"We want a serious fight against ISIS so that this terrorist group is completely annihilated," he added. "Even if a single ISIS member is alive, people will not have peace and will be scared of attack."

Ordinary Afghans suffer from the dangers posed by ISIS as much as they suffer from poverty and unemployment, Hussaini said.

'Like a fire under ashes'

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in an August 25 meeting expressed concern about the activities of ISIS's Khorasan branch (ISIS-K) in Afghanistan.

It estimated the number of ISIS fighters and their family members in Afghanistan at between 4,000 and 6,000.

Based on the UNSC's report, the number of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan has increased. In the past, according to some reports, the number of ISIS elements and their families in Afghanistan was estimated at 3,500.

The UNSC notes that the threat of ISIS is not limited to Afghanistan but goes beyond its borders to other countries in the region as well.

ISIS is a major threat to the security of Afghanistan, said Afghan military analyst Mohammad Naim Ghayur, who is based in Italy.

"ISIS has been recruiting fighters in most parts of Afghanistan in recent months. It wants to resume its activities throughout the country," he said. "The current silence is like a fire under ashes, which could flare up at any moment."

"ISIS gaining strength in Afghanistan will not only lead to a deterioration of security in Afghanistan but also threaten security in other parts of the world," he said.

"ISIS is present and active in a number of countries, and by developing small and large networks, it will expand its activities to many countries," he warned.

Do you like this article?

5 Comment

Comment Policy * Denotes required field 1500 / 1500

Today is World Teacher's Day. I wish you a happy Teacher's Day. We are grateful to all of the teachers and clerics of our family and mosque and the honorable teachers at the school and university, who have supported us to the best of their abilities and paved the way for us. May God bless you all. I wish those alive a long and happy life and those who have died in Allah Almighty's paradise. I wish teachers and professors in this country could be valued as they should be. Teachers and professors were/are facing all kinds of problems. In addition to other problems, the current government of Afghanistan has added another one, which has delayed the pension of all officials and teachers for an unknown reason, and everyone is waiting for the fatwa to come. It took more than two years for this to happen. The non-payment of pension has further affected the most oppressed and suffering people of the country and has forced these elderly and weak people to ask themselves that we have served the children of this country for these forty years for this misfortune. In other words, this country's problem of elders, weak and helpless teachers, and officials are so insignificant that their condition will not be known for two years!? The most interesting thing is that the salaries and privileges of all the current officials and teachers are being used in the name of pension. They don't see any legal problem in using it, but they are suspicious about returning it. If you pay the pensions of t


The war has been in Afghanistan for the past four and a half decades, and almost every house has a similar situation. May God remove the curse of war from our motherland. The condition of this family made me very upset because if someone has a heart in the chest, he cannot remain silent. ISIS or any terrorist group has killed innocent Afghans in Afghanistan and made innocent girls, boys, and women cry. They don't just cry; their whole life goes in fear and mourning. Such families, who have no one else, either beg or sell their honor for their children until the end of their lives because they have no other option. Finding bread for a family has been very tough lately. Such a situation should not be brought to our oppressed people again. We have been tortured and tormented. The war has significantly made us needy to the world. We will do everything to find bread for our children. War indeed brings destruction and devastation.


With the arrival of Taliban government in Afghanistan, activities of the ISIS terrorist group have ended. The only good thing that the regime has done or will do is to destroy the activities of the terrorist group ISIS. The regime has been able to establish security in Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan can live in a peaceful atmosphere. During the republican government in Afghanistan, I used to read the news every day that there was a suicide attack, several of our compatriots were martyred. All the people were suffring from Psychological troubles. We did not have a peaceful life. We used to send our children to school with fear. Every member of our family who was going to the city, we did not expect that they would return home safely. Currently, there is no war all over Afghanistan. The only problems that exist in this government are that they have closed girls' schools and the second is the lack of job opportunities. Most of the people are unemployed and the people's economy is very bad. May God help the Taliban government to solve these problems of the people of Afghanistan.


The last four and a half decades of war in Afghanistan have affected almost all Afghans in one way or another. In this war, which was started by the mercenaries of the Soviet Union and overthrew the Afghan democratic system under the leadership of Mohammad Daud Khan, Afghanistan faced problems. Tens of thousands of Afghans were killed in the first 20 months of the mercenary rule of the Soviet Union. After the Soviet troops directly invaded Afghanistan, on the first day of the invasion, they killed the president of the democratic system, Hafizullah Amin. That is, they killed his person. Then they brought another person named Babrak Karmal and gave him the power. The story is long, but neighbors and distant friends all betrayed Afghanistan in one way or another, and because of those betrayals, Afghans are still facing problems. Afghanistan has always been the battlefield of foreign wars. 100-150 years ago, Britain fought three wars in Afghanistan that killed many Afghans. Then, the Soviet Union came, and they killed many Afghans. Then NATO came. NATO also committed murders. Now that the US and the Taliban have agreed, both sides should remain committed to their agreement and do something as soon as possible to free Afghanistan from the current economic, political, health, social, and military siege. Afghans also have the right to live and travel like other citizens. The government should be recognized, and Afghanistan's doors should be opened to the world. However, recognition i


Wow, this is very sad news. Afghanistan hosts such events. The people of no country have been killed as much as those of this country suffered during the five decades. And still no one shows mercy to these oppressed people and kills them. These people are right as they feel fear. ISIS is a brutal and predatory group that kills people in the name of Islam, even though they are not Muslims. This group dealt a heavy blow to Islam in the world. They did those things and those deaths that Islam does not allow such things until the end of life, but these savages did these things to destroy Islam in the name of Islam. They are still doing it. This barbaric group must be destroyed as soon as possible so that people can be freed from their fear.