Following Suicide Bombing, AI Calls for All Armed Groups to Stop Harming Civilians

Press Release
October 26, 2012

Following Suicide Bombing, AI Calls for All Armed Groups to Stop Harming Civilians

40 People, Many Women and Children, Killed in Attack During Religious Festival

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

At least 40 people were killed in a suicide blast in northern Afghanistan on October 26, 2012 during the religious festival of Eid al-Adha. The bomb exploded as people were leaving Eid prayers in Eid Gah mosque in Maymana, capital of Faryab province.

While senior provincial government and security officials were present at the prayers, the vast majority of victims appear to have been civilians - many were women and children - waiting outside the mosque.

"This attack has once again underscored the disregard armed groups in the Afghanistan conflict hold for civilian lives and places of worship," said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Program deputy director.

The Taliban has not claimed responsibility for this attack. However, the United Nations has previously said attacks like this one are consistent with previous patterns of Taliban attacks. The Taliban leader Mullah Omar has repeatedly urged his movement to prevent civilian casualties – most recently in his October 2012 Eid statement.

"Amnesty International urges all armed groups to stop using civilians as human shields, or harming civilians in indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks in violation of international law," said Truscott. "The use of so-called improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or suicide bombers in areas where there is a danger of civilian casualties must stop. Amnesty International once again calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate the conflict in Afghanistan."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.