Attack on Afghan Minority Group Leaves Over 60 Dead

Suicide bombers struck Shiite (mostly Hazara) pilgrims on December 6, killing over 60 people in Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif during holy holiday of Ashura. I was moved by a photo of a woman crying out in horror at the carnage around her. It was also a cry of helplessness and a cry of sorrow. I couldn’t help but feeling that sense of helplessness and sorrow.

The attack seemed timed to coincide with the Bonn Conference on the future of Afghanistan 10 years after the first conference held in the same city. Amnesty International has a delegation in the city monitoring the conference. We have been arguing that human rights must not be sacrificed as the US winds down its security presence in the country. This bombing is an example of need for the international community to maintain its commitment to protect human rights in Afghanistan.


Taliban Send 8-Year Old Girl To Her Death

While targeting civilians in Kabul, the Taliban allegedly tricked an eight-year old girl into carrying a package containing a remote-control detonated bomb.

Only the girl was killed in the blast, which occurred Sunday morning in the village of Uwshi in the Char Chino District, said Fazal Ahmad Shirzad, the police chief of Oruzgan Province.

The scene after a Taliban suicide bombing in Pakistan in May, 2011 © Hasham Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images

Mr. Shirzad said he believed the girl was unaware that the bag she had been given by Taliban insurgents held a bomb. Her body was “taken to a nearby security check post, and the police called her relatives,” he said.

As I write this I think of my two daughters and wonder what kind of people would find that acceptable?


Amnesty Calls on Iraqi Government to Protect Christians

As Christmas draws closer, Amnesty International calls on the Iraqi government to protect the country’s Christians who have been threatened, bombed, and displaced since the US invasion in 2003.

In February this year Christian families were killed in their homes in Mosul by unidentified armed groups. Later this year, on October 31, gunmen held worshippers hostage at Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. After the Iraqi army stormed in, the gunmen detonated their explosive belts, killing more than 40 worshippers, including a priest.

Other places of worship have been bombed as part of the rampant sectarian violence since 2003, such as the attack on the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra in 2006 and the targeting of various shi’ite shrines across Iraq. Not a month goes by in Iraq without suicide bombings taking the lives of tens of Iraqis of all religions, and injuring hundreds more. In August 60 army recruits of different religions were killed in a suicide bombing at the Baghdad Ministry of Defense Building. In February of this year 40 shi’ite pilgrims were killed, and in July another 28 pilgrims were killed in a suicide attack. More than 400 people were killed in bombings at Al-Qahtaniyya and other Yazidi villages in 2007.