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Afghanistan tightens security to protect Muharram mourners

Amin Alemi

Press TV, Kabul

Afghanistan government has deployed 14 thousands of forces including public committees across the capital city Kabul to provide mosques and other mourning halls with security during the mourning month of Muharram.

Ceremonies are held at a couple of mosques attended by both Shia and Sunni Muslims who said they would stand together united. Security forces meanwhile said they had ramped up security at hundreds of mosques across the capital over the past couple of days.

Muharram ceremonies have repeatedly been targeted by Daesh terrorist group in recent years. Against that backdrop, locals have created public security committees to foil any possible terrorist attack against mourners. The Afghan government has welcomed the move and supports them in different ways.

Afghans have their own traditions to mark the occasion. Adorning streets and mosques, working to help needy people and attending mourning ceremonies are among Afghan traditions to mark Muharram. This year, however, the ceremonies have been held with health protocols in place due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

The lunar month of Muharram coincides with the martyrdom anniversary of the third Shia Imam, Hussein, and his companions, some 14 centuries ago, who were killed in modern day Iraqi city of Karbala by the forces of the 2nd Umayyad caliph, Yazid.

It was on Thursday when Afghanistan's ministry of interior declared that the government forces have dismantled a nine-member group of terrorists who had planned to launch deadly attacks on mourners in Kabul. Officials here say all forces are on high alert to thwart any security incident specially during the Day of Ashura or the tenth day of Muharram.

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