ISIS Attacks Rally in Afghan Capital, Kills 32

Attack targeted Shi'ite neighborhood

A group of gunmen carried out a major attack in the Kabul neighborhood of Dasht-e Barachi on Friday, targeting a rally attended by self-proclaimed President-elect Abdullah Abdullah.

The rally was a commemoration for Abdul Ali Mazari, a Shi’ite politician who was killed by the Taliban in 1995. The rally was heavily attended by Shi’ite Hazaras, and they were the bulk of the casualties. The Interior Ministry reported 32 people killed and 81 wounded.

Coming amid a very tenuous peace deal, the Taliban was quick to deny responsibility. They’ve regularly denied strikes on Shi’ites recently. ISIS, however, has continued to target the Shi’ites, and issued their own statement taking credit for the attack.

There would be plenty of potential complicating factors, from the Taliban peace deal and the contested election. Abdullah and President Ghani have both claimed victory in the last election, and both plan to be inaugurated on Monday.

In such an unstable situation violence could’ve come from any number of sources for any reason. Ultimately, ISIS attacking Shi’ites just for the sake of attacking Shi’ites was probably the most likely explanation, and all evidence suggests that is once again the case.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.