Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 12/06/2011

Kabul attack may be sign of coming sectarian violence (audio, video)

A suicide bomber attacked a packed Shiite mosque in the Afghan capital Tuesday, killing at least 54 people as throngs of worshipers observed the religious holiday of Ashura. More than 100 people were injured.

A wounded man and a boy try to stand up after a suicide blast targeting a Shiite gathering in Kabul on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
As the Post’s  Ernesto Londoño and Javed Hamdard report from Kabul, it was a rare attack in a city where insurgents have recently focused their attacks on Western installations and military personnel. In an audio report, Londoño says the attack indicates the possibility of ethnic and sectarian violence in Afghanistan:

Ernesto Londono in Kabul (mp3)

Graphic video shared by Russia Television, a Kremlin-financed satellite channel, starts by showing worshipers whipping their bare backs, a hallmark of observance of the holiday of Ashura. Ashura is the peak of a 10-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad who was killed in battle in the 7th century. It is also one of the most important days in the Shia calender, another sign that the attack could indicate coming sectarian violence.

The footage then cuts to the moment of impact of the explosive, showing bodies strewn on the ground and then carried away:

Abdul Ali Ahmat, who was inside the shrine distributing glasses of milk to worshipers when the blast occurred, told the Post: “I saw women, children and men . . . It was a horrible, horrible situation.”

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By  |  11:25 AM ET, 12/06/2011

Tags:  World, Afghanistan, Kabul, suicide attack

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