Khost, Afghanistan: May 19, 2012
A suicide blast killed at least three soldiers and two civilians this morning in the eastern Afghan city of Khost. The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack. Though Afghan police reports confirm five killed, the Taliban claims twelve Afghan security forces killed and nine injured, denying civilian casualties.
“The aim of the attacker was to attack both police and civilians”, said General Sardar Mohamad Zazia, provincial police chief.
This attack is being viewed as a Taliban response to the influx of the Hazara fleeing Pakistan. A large number of Shia Hazara moved to Pakistan during the earlier decades of war within the state, and Shia Hazara persecution has been rare since the 2001 ousting of the Taliban. However, with the increasing human rights abuses and targeted killings of the Shia Hazara in Pakistan, forcing the Shia Hazara to seek refuge in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, hundreds of Afghans rallied throughout Kabul in protest and condemnation of the Hazara killings in Pakistan. Protestors carried signs, reading “Death to Terrorism” and “Shame, Shame Pakistan”.