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Shia Scholars Among Six Killed in Gunfire Attack in Herat, Afghanistan

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BNN Correspondents
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Shia Scholars Among Six Killed in Gunfire Attack in Herat, Afghanistan

In a tragic turn of events, Herat, a city in western Afghanistan, was the stage for a cold-blooded attack that culminated in the death of six individuals, including two Shia religious scholars. The incident took place on Friday, December 1, around 3:00 PM local time. As per local reports, the victims, who were returning from a religious ceremony, were ambushed in the Kora Milli area of the city while they were in a rickshaw.

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(Read Also: Herat Security Dialogue: Aiding the Taliban Equals Political Catastrophe)

Contextualizing the Violence

This attack forms part of a disturbing pattern of violence that has been plaguing the region. Just ten days prior, two Shia religious scholars were the victims of a similar gunfire attack in the same area. These incidents underscore the perils faced by religious minorities, particularly the Shia community, which has been a recurrent target of sectarian violence. The Shia population in Afghanistan, primarily comprising the Hazara community, represent a minority that has been frequently attacked by militant outfits such as the Islamic State (IS) group.

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Impact on Local Population

The relentless violence has undoubtedly heightened fear and tensions among the local populace. The safety of citizens, especially those belonging to religious minorities, hangs in the balance, casting a long shadow over the region. The constant threat posed by armed groups, including the regional faction of IS, remains a significant challenge despite the reduction in violence following the Taliban's takeover of power in August 2021.

(Read Also: Afghanistan Taps into Oil Reserves: A Step Towards Economic Independence)

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Call for Action

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Afghanistan has made an urgent call for a thorough and independent probe into these assassinations, in line with international standards. The Rapporteur stressed on the need for the culprits to face justice, sending a clear message that such acts of violence cannot be tolerated. As the echoes of gunfire fade away, the international community's response to this crisis will be closely watched by a population yearning for peace and security.

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