2 years after bloody ISIS-K attack on Kunduz Shia mosque, victims' families demand justice

By Muhammad Qasem

A man inspects the damage at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz on October 9, 2021, a day after an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed at least 60 worshippers. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

A man inspects the damage at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz on October 9, 2021, a day after an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed at least 60 worshippers. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

KUNDUZ -- Two years after the bloodiest attack on a Shia place of worship in Kunduz city ever, the families of the victims are calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators.

The "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" Khorasan branch (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the October 8, 2021, suicide bombing of the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque, which killed more than 60 people and wounded almost 100 others.

Ghulam Mohammad Hashemi, 35, a resident of Kunduz city, lost his brother in the bombing and has been taking care of his brother's wife and three children since then.

"My brother was a working-class man who was earning a living for his family through day labor, but bloodthirsty ISIS took him forever from us," Hashemi said.

Relatives at a graveyard October 9, 2021, carry the body of a victim of a suicide bombing targeting worshippers at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

Relatives at a graveyard October 9, 2021, carry the body of a victim of a suicide bombing targeting worshippers at the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque in Kunduz. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

"Every time I remember that attack, I get lost in my thoughts. ISIS martyred several of my relatives in front of my eyes," said Hashemi, who was wounded that day.

He called on Afghan authorities and the international community to prosecute the ISIS-K members responsible for planning and carrying out the heinous bombing.

Sayed Askar Hashemi, 38, said he will never forget ISIS-K's horrendous crime.

He told Salaam Times he lost his brother and four cousins that day.

Now their families are suffering from economic and mental health problems, Hashemi said, emphasizing that no level of support and condemnation by the government and aid agencies can alleviate the pain of these families.

"ISIS is a brutal group that spares no one," he said. "ISIS kills innocent people and has destroyed several families. Many women have lost their husbands and children to ISIS attacks, and their lives have been ruined."

Hashemi called on the international community, especially the international courts, to investigate the massacre and to restore justice for the families of the victims.

Fear of ISIS attacks

Family members of other victims of the Kunduz attack said they are afraid ISIS will continue to kill and massacre Shia.

ISIS-K has bombed a number of Shia mosques and other civilian targets in recent years.

A week after the attack in Kunduz, blasts tore through the Shia Fatemiyyeh Mosque in Kandahar city on October 15, 2021, killing at least 33 people and injuring 74 others.

Just last week, on Friday (October 13), another ISIS-K attack on the Imam Zaman Mosque in Pul-e-Khumri city, Baghlan province, killed at least 17 people, according to hospital officials and eyewitnesses.

Ghulam Rabbani Mosavi, 24, who lost his father in the attack on the Gozar-e-Sayed Abad Mosque, said he is worried about further ISIS bombings of worshippers and civilians.

"I had taken my sick mom to Kabul for medical treatment on that black day," he recalled. "My mom fainted when she learned that my father was martyred in the mosque, worsening her health."

"My family and I haven't seen a good day since then. Our life is ruined with my father's departure."

"Families of the victims want a serious fight against this terrorist group so that it is destroyed," Mosavi told Salaam Times. "Public mobilization and outside support are needed to fight this ruthless group."

ISIS-K has been increasing its activities over the past two years and has organized very complex attacks in different parts of the country, said Saeedullah Akbari, 52, a resident of Kunduz city.

"We have seen mosques, schools and residential areas in Kabul, Herat, Balkh and other provinces attacked in the past two years," he said. "I am afraid that such deadly attacks will happen again in our province and that innocent people will once again be killed."

"Every time I see a large crowd or go to the mosque, I have major fear in my heart about a possible ISIS attack," he said.

Increasing threat of ISIS-K

Afghan political and military analysts warn that unless contained, ISIS will have the capability to carry out attacks abroad.

ISIS-K is becoming stronger in Afghanistan and is trying to infiltrate other countries, said Abdul Hafiz Samadi, a military analyst based in France.

"About 28 ISIS members were arrested in Iran on September 24, which in itself indicates the [spreading] presence of the group," he told Salaam Times.

ISIS-K also claimed responsibility for a July 30 suicide bombing in northwest Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. It killed at least 54 people and injured about 200 more at a political rally.

"Unfortunately, ISIS has carried out major attacks in the last two years across different provinces of Afghanistan," Samadi said, citing attacks that killed the Balkh governor and Badakhshan deputy governor.

On March 9, an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated explosives inside the office of Balkh governor Mohammad Dawood Muzammil, killing him and two others and wounding another two.

Muzammil had led the fight against ISIS in his previous posting as governor of Nangarhar province.

Two days later, ISIS bombed an event honoring the media at the Tabyan Cultural Center in Mazar-e-Sharif.

The attack was caused by a "parcel bomb that ISIS fighters managed to place and detonate" at the event, according to Amaq, ISIS-K's propaganda agency.

At least three people were killed while several journalists and three children were wounded, according to police.

Meanwhile, in back-to-back explosions on June 6 and 7, ISIS bombers first killed Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the acting governor of Badakhshan, while he was being driven to work in the provincial capital Faizabad. The driver was also killed and six people were wounded.

Then, at Ahmadi's funeral, another bomber killed at least 11 people and wounded 30.

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Afghans suffered a lot, they suffered a lot of problems, endured poverty, endured political, economic, cultural difficulties, but still the war took the lives of thousands of Afghans. Afghans experienced mental and physical tortures. With arrival of light, a big change occurred in Afghanistan. Today there is no war, but there is a lot of poverty, people are dying of starvation.


I am still surprised why ISIS targets civilians, especially the Shia brothers? These oppressors kill Muslims in the name of Islam, and after all they kill them in the mosque! Believe me, among the groups that I hate the most is the brutal terrorist group ISIS. This group has introduced the blessed and righteous religion of Islam to the people of the world as scary and hateful, while it is the jealousy of human and the blessed religion of Islam hates such people and looks at them with a bad eye.


What is surprising is that ISIS is a barbaric and terrorist group whose only goal is to kill the people. International donors and ISIS only create differences between Shiites and Sunnis in Afghanistan to make these two religious groups face each other in a permanent war and that's it.


How much oppression has been perpetrated on Afghans and Afghanistan in these fifty years? If it had happened in any other country, all its people would be dead or insane. Unfortunately, from the Genghis Khans and the British to the Russians and NATO, all the invaders subjected Afghans to oppression and are still doing it. These extremist groups defame Islam; on the other hand, killing people is neither related to Islam nor Muslims. These are mostly proxy groups of foreign intelligence agencies created to kill Afghans and defame the name of Islam. Most of these projects are related to the big global superpowers implemented by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Iran, whose goal is to kill Afghans and destroy Afghanistan. Shia, Sunni, Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, and Uzbek are all the flowers of Afghanistan's garden. The death of Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Tajiks also saddens us. Similarly, we are saddened by the death of a Sunni and Shia. May God bring peace to Afghanistan. And for Allah, that is not hard or difficult.


As the families of the New York Palace incident victims want justice for themselves and their relatives after almost 20 years, Afghans also have the right to demand justice for their family members after two years. If there is justice in the world and America and others did not establish human rights organizations to further their objectives, justice must be served for the 20 years of killing and torturing Afghan children. Afghans are also human beings; only God knows how much they fell prey to foreign conspiracies in the past 20 years. America, Britain, and others have made plans to become more advanced globally, but they have created groups in backward countries like Afghanistan. They are killing each other to run the system of the advanced countries. Therefore, justice should be given to all Afghan people. Such as, if someone assigns you to serve justice, you will equal another horse and your pony. Now that the people of Kunduz have raised their voices for justice, they should be seen as human beings, and their voices should be heard. And those who lost in such incidents should be thoroughly investigated.


The explosions that take place in Afghanistan is the evil conspiracy of our neighboring countries. It is impossible for the murderers of the Afghan people to be tried in the international courts, but instead they will be privileged, because during the 20 years of the republican government, all the murderers of the Afghan people ruled over Afghans. 70% of the authorities of the republican government were murderers of the people of Afghanistan. Who tried them? at a time as their homes were also known. The poor people of Afghanistan should not think that your murderers will be tried in the international court. Be afraid of nomination of schools with their names, nomination of the squares of the capital Kabul with their names, nomination of the airport with their names. You the oppressed people of Kunduz province should never wait for the murderers of the innocent Afghan people to be tried in the international court or in the domestic court. This will never happen.


Your opinion is 100% correct. No murderer was presented to the international court! And no one can do this. Otherwise, the murderers are known, and the terrorist groups and terrorist countries are also known, but who would be as brave as to name them?! May God save our oppressed nation.


In fact, the international court and human rights and the like are just words and nothing else. You know that since a month and a half, thousands of innocent people, especially children and women, were killed in the blind bombing of the Israeli forces in Gaza, but is there anyone who will bring the leaders of the brutal Israeli regime to justice?! No. This means that all talks on human rights, women's rights, children's rights, animal rights... have been closed or canceled. As a Muslim, I see and watch how the western countries, especially the big powers, destroy the walls that they said they built to protect human rights, women's rights, and children's rights. All of them were just lies, they are lies, and there is no credibility for its future. The United Nations, which calls itself the supporter of civilization and the voice of humanity, is silent as if only a few chickens have been killed and are being killed in Gaza.