Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims gathered to celebrate Ashura, one of the most important festivals on the Shiite calendar.
Gunmen targeted Shiite pilgrims gathered to celebrate Ashura at Karte Sakhi shrine in Kabul. Pictured: An Afghan police helicopter flies over Hazrat Ali (Kart-i-Sakhi) shrine where Afghans celebrate the Afghan New Year (Nawruz) in Kabul March 21, 2010. [Representational Image]Reuters

At least 14 people were killed when gunmen targeted a Shiite shrine in Kabul as pilgrims were celebrating Ashura festival on Tuesday, October 11.

A group of terrorists entered the Hazrat Ali shrine, also known as Kart-i-Sakhi shrine, in Kabul and attacked the pilgrims gathered there using guns and grenades. At least 36 people were wounded in the attack, of which three were policemen. 

One among the deceased was a police officer, and the remaining 13 were civilians. One of the attackers was also killed after the Special Forces arrived at the scene.

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi has stated that the assault is over and that the Special Forces unit has ensured that no gunmen are hiding in the shrine. "Police have evacuated dozens of people from the shrine. A number of civilians and police have been injured," Sediqqi said in a statement.

No dissent or terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the attacks as a "clear sign of a crime against humanity." Ashura commemorates the tragic death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, whose assassination in 680AD laid the foundation for the Shia Islam.

Ashura is one of the most important festivals in the Shiite calendar and Ghani has said that despite the terror attacks, the country will celebrate the day on Wednesday, October 12. He has also called on all sects of Afghanistan to "stand firmly against" the country's enemies.

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