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HRW Calls For 'Security Plan' To Protect Afghanistan's Shi'a

A view of the broken window panes at the scene of a suicide bomb attack on a Shi'ite Muslims religious school in Kabul on November 21.

An international rights group has urged the Afghan government to develop a "security plan" to better protect the minority Shi'a community during high-profile public events.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) made the call in a statement on November 21, a day after a suicide bomber killed at least 30 worshipers at a Shi'ite mosque in Kabul during the observance of a religious ceremony.

Militants affiliated with the extremist Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack -- their fourth on gatherings by Afghanistan’s Shi'a community since July, according to HRW.

The New York-based group also said that sectarian suicide attacks have injured or killed more than 500 Shi'a in Afghanistan since July.

The IS group has "stepped up its horrific and unlawful attacks" on Shi'ite public gatherings, "making no place safe," HRW researcher Patricia Gossman said.

"The government, Shi'a leaders, and civil society groups should work together to develop appropriate ways to improve security during vulnerable public and religious gatherings [...] so that Shi'a community members can exercise their basic rights," she added.