ASIA/AFGHANISTAN - A Barnabite in Kabul: "These attacks are crimes against humanity"

Wednesday, 2 May 2018 terrorism   criminality   isis   christianity   local churches   orders  

Kabul (Agenzia Fides) - "We are shocked but we are well, thank God. Although the last attack took place near the Embassy, I did not suffer any consequences. The sisters, compared to me, are much more exposed because they live in popular neighborhoods and without any kind of protection. It is true that I am here to do good and are well liked by the population, but the problem is that they could become the target of an attack at any moment". This is the testimony sent from Kabul to Agenzia Fides by Father Giovanni Scalese, a Barnabite missionary, titular of the Missio sui iuris of Afghanistan, following the double suicide attack that, on Monday 30 April, killed more than 25 people, including nine journalists, also causing a very high number of wounded. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The first bombing, which occurred around 8:00 am local time in the Shashdarak area, close to several government institutions and NATO headquarters, had the aim of attracting reporters, who were then hit by a second suicide bomber who, pretending to be a communication operator, blew himself up 20 minutes later. "Journalists, who are witnesses to what happens, are naturally a privileged target of terrorists. But what is most striking is the evil of the action: to provoke an explosion, to wait for rescuers, journalists and the police to gather, and then to provoke another explosion. These are not military actions, they are crimes against humanity", notes Fr. Scalese.
Only a month ago, it was the Barnabite who sent words of hope from Afghanistan, highlighting the positive signs in the month of February, when the Taliban declared that they were ready to start negotiations with the United States and when Ashraf Ghani, Afghan president, made a peace deal proposal with the Taliban themselves. Today Fr. Scalese says: "It is clear that the inclusion of ISIS in the Afghan war is a sign that some do not want an agreement between the government and the Taliban. ISIS is a foreign body in Afghanistan, specially created to sow terror, without any other logic than destabilization as an end in itself. The Taliban have a different philosophy. In the communiqué with which they announced the beginning of the spring offensive, they wrote: 'Special attention must be given to the protection of the life and property of the civilian population, for which all precautionary measures must be taken when attacking the objectives chosen'".
In Afghanistan, the Catholic presence was admitted at the beginning of the twentieth century as a simple spiritual assistance within the Italian Embassy in Kabul and elevated to Missio sui iuris in 2002 by John Paul II. Today the mission, entrusted to Barnabite father Giovanni Scalese, continues to have a basis in the diplomatic structure. In the Afghan capital there are also the Mother Teresa of Calcutta sisters and the Pro Bambini of Kabul inter-congregational association. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 2/5/2018)