Afghanistan Shrine Attack Victims Include One American

An American citizen was among the dozens of people slain in yesterday’s unusual sectarian attacks in Afghanistan.

“We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was tragically killed in the suicide attacks on Dec. 6,” the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan said in a statement released a day after the attacks.

Thus far, the death of the U.S. citizen appears to be the only death of a foreign national in the rare sectarian attacks that occurred on the festival of Ashura, the most important holy day in the Shiite Muslim calendar.

Details about the victim have not been released, however, a spokesperson for the embassy confirmed that the victim was not a U.S. government employee.

On Tuesday, a suicide attack killed 55 worshipers at the well-known Abu Fazal shrine in Kabul. A second blast occurred at around the same time in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, killing four people.

In Afghanistan’s southeastern Kandahar province six people were injured by an additional bomb strapped to a motorcycle.

A Pakistani militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, however, the validity of the claim has not been confirmed.

Shortly following the attacks the Shiite community in Afghanistan quickly pointed a finger at neighboring Pakistan due to its long history of sectarian violence.

During Taliban rule Shiite Muslims were targeted in Afghanistan, however, after the fall of the Taliban insurgent groups focused their attacks on U.S. led NATO forces.

The attacks are the first sectarian driven attacks in the country in the decade since the Taliban was ousted from power.

Lashkar-e-Janghvi al Almi, a Sunni Muslim militant group emanating out of Pakistan that is known for attacks against Shiite Muslims in its country, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“We are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistan government about it,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai told reporters.

“Afghanistan cannot ignore the blood of all the victims of this incident, especially the children,” Karzai added.

Karzai canceled a planned trip to the United Kingdom following the news of the attacks.

The attacks came a day after the international community convened in Bonn, Germany to discuss the future of peace and security in Afghanistan.

Pakistan was notably absent from the meeting due to the recent NATO attacks on a Pakistani military base.