The President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has cancelled a visit to the United Kingdom in the wake of deadly suicide bombings in his native country which has killed as many as 60 people.
Karzai had just attended a summit conference in Germany where’s Afghanistan future and security were being discussed.
According to the British newspaper Daily Telegraph, Karzai was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron in London on Wednesday to sign an agreement under which the UK would support Afghanistan for ten years following the planned withdrawal of NATO combat troops in 2014.
Meanwhile, the attacks in Afghanistan appear to have been sectarian in nature given that two Shia Muslim shrines were targeted in the capital of Kabul and in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Sunni jihadists are suspected of having carried out the murderous attacks.
The blasts occurred on one of the holiest days of the calendar for Shia Muslims – the festival of Ashoura which represents the day of mourning to honor the martyrdom of Husain ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad.
BBC reported that Karzai said it was the first time that on such an important religious day in Afghanistan terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place.
Ironically, the tragedy highlights the very thing that Karzai told western leaders in Bonn – that Afghanistan’s state of security remains precarious and the country will need assistance on that front for at least a decade beyond the 2014 withdrawal date of NATO combat soldiers
Karzai’s office in Kabul stated that the president will meet with the victims’ families.
BBC indicated that the attacks were somewhat unusual in the sense that most violence has been directed at state officials or foreign troops as a way to destabilize the western-supported Kabul government. However, the recent episodes involved violence perpetrated by Afghanistan’s Sunni Muslim majority against the Shia minority.
Mohammad Bakir Shaikzada, a prominent Shia cleric in Kabul, told BBC he could not recall a similar attack of such magnitude.
Moreover, the Taliban denied involvement in the attack, according to a statement from the organization.