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26 October 2012 – The United Nations top political envoy for Afghanistan today condemned a suicide bomb attack which killed at least 40 people in the country's north, during prayers linked to one of the holiest holidays of the Muslim faith.
“This heinous attack at a mosque, killing and injuring Afghan civilians as they celebrated the Eid-al-Adha religious festival has no justification and should be condemned by all in the strongest possible terms,” said the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš.
The deaths occurred during Eid-al-Adha prayers when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated at the entrance of the Eid Gah mosque, in the northern city of Maimana in Faryab province, according to the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which Mr. Kubiš heads. Another 52 people were injured in the attack.
Mosques are protected places under international humanitarian law, which strictly prohibits attacks against both civilians and civilian objects, including places of worship, UNAMA noted in a news release. It noted that suicide attacks that fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants are also prohibited, but continue to be used by anti-government elements.
“These illegal and indiscriminate suicide attacks that kill and injure many Afghan civilians must stop,” Mr. Kubiš added. “Such attacks are completely unacceptable and those responsible are fully accountable for the deaths and injuries of civilians caused by their brutal acts.”
UNAMA also expressed condolences to the families of those killed and wished a speedy recovery for all those injured.
Starting today and lasting over the weekend, the religious observance of Eid al-Adha – or the Feast of the Sacrifice – commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.