Two attackers hit a crowded Shi’ite mosque in the western Afghanistan city of Herat today, one a suicide bomber who attacked first, and the second a gunman with an assault rifle who also threw grenades into the panicked crowd.
When the chaotic scene was over, both attackers were dead, along with at least 50 worshipers, and another 50 worshipers were wounded in the attack, the latest in a long line of attacks on the nation’s Shi’ite minority.
The Shi’ites being the target they so often are did have some private security outside the mosque, though the first attacker, the suicide bomber, had apparently shot at the guards on his way into the compound, then blew himself up.
This latest attack only added to the sense that the Afghan National Police aren’t doing their jobs, particularly in protecting religious minorities, and the mosque attack was followed by angry protests elsewhere in the city, where demonstrators stoned a police station and set it on fire.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, though the Taliban has explicitly denied involvement. This might suggest ISIS was behind the attack, though the region has no shortage of Islamist factions that attack the Shi’ites, meaning it could be any number of other factions.