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Afghanistan: Explosion at Kabul’s Al-Zahra mosque June 15

Multiple reports of a large explosion at the Al-Zahra mosque in Kabul during the evening of June 15; avoid the area

TIMEFRAME expected from 15/6/2017, 12h00 until 15/6/2017, 11h59 (Asia/Kabul). COUNTRY/REGION Kabul

Event

Multiple sources have reported a large explosion during the evening of Thursday, June 15, at the Al-Zahra mosque, located in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi area. Sources in the city indicate multiple casualties are likely, especially given the large crowds that typically gather at mosques during the holy month of Ramadan (May 26-June 25). Details are still emerging; avoid the area.

Context

Multiple attacks have already been carried out in Kabul during the holy month of Ramadan this year. Three explosive devices detonated at a funeral in the Khair Khan district of Kabul on Saturday, June 3, killing at least 20 people and wounding 35. On May 31, a bomb exploded near the German Embassy and the Afghan presidential palace located in the Wazir Akbar Khan area at the center of Kabul’s highly secured diplomatic “Green Zone.” Over 100 people were killed and another 400 wounded in the attack. The bomb was reportedly delivered via a water tanker and contained over 1500 kg (3300 lb) of explosives that left a 7 m (23 ft) deep crater.

Typically, there is a heightened terror threat during this period in Afghanistan; the Islamic State (IS) has in the past called on members to perpetrate attacks during Ramadan and some regional terrorist groups have followed suit. Furthermore, the Taliban, widely present in the region, announced the official start of their yearly spring offensive in late April, an announcement typically followed by a nationwide surge in attacks.

Advice

Individuals in Kabul are advised to monitor the situation and to avoid the blast area.

As always, due to major security concerns individuals throughout Afghanistan are urged to keep a safe distance from large gatherings, military convoys, government buildings, and crowded urban areas. Many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to Afghanistan due to the high threat of kidnapping and terrorism, including frequent attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, local civilians and politicians, and individuals working in the humanitarian and reconstruction fields. Travel to the country should only be undertaken with proper security protocols in place.

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