Afghans observed the Day of Ashura in different ceremonies around the country on Tuesday despite security concerns.
President Ashraf Ghani attended a ceremony on Ashura in Kabul where he said Imam Husain was heading the “army of justice”.
He stressed the need for maintaining the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the peace talks.
“I will want republic [government] even if I will be alone as Imam Hussain,” Mr. Ghani said.
But Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah who attended another event on Ashura said the enemies of the country are using different ways, but they could not damage unity among Afghans.
“This day is the symbol of unity between Shias and Sunnis in Afghanistan and it shows the unity of the Muslim nation,” Mr. Abdullah said.
Head of the High Peace Council, Mohammad Karim Khalili, who attended the same event with Mr. Abdullah, stressed the need for ensuring peace and stability in the country.
He said that he was “shocked” by the news of a possible meeting between President Ghani and US President Donald Trump at Camp David.
“We were shocked when issues were made clear. The government authorities, particularly Mr. Ghani, should be responsive in this respect,” Mr. Khalili said.
The Ashura ceremony was observed by thousands at the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif city in the northern province of Balkh.
“People were ‘threatened’ not to attend Ashura. This was your love for Imam Husain to attend this ceremony,” said Abdullah Rafiee, a religious scholar.
“Those who are trying to create division among the people are not counted as Muslims… Those who are ‘shedding your blood’ have no relation with Islam,” said Zabihullah Haqjo, the deputy head of Balkh Ulema Council.
Ashura was also observed in the western province of Herat where more than 3,000 members of Afghan National Defense and Security Forces took part in ensuring the security of ceremonies marking the day, according to Ministry of Interior.
“We have been deployed here for the past five days. There were security threats but we are here to protect them,” said Khalil Ahmad Sarwari, member of public uprising forces.
“We did not witness even a single incident because of concrete measures for the safety of Ashura ceremonies,” said Hadid Mahdi, member of Herat Provincial Council.
Meanwhile, dozens of Afghans in Kabul, Herat, Balkh, Kunduz and other provinces attended blood donation campaigns to observe Ashura day.
Those who attended the campaign said they donated blood to the wounded of Afghan forces to show support to their sacrifices.
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar and is considered the second holiest month after Ramadhan. Ashura is observed on the 10th of Muharram every year.
On the tenth day of the month, Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the third Imam of the Shia community, was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD.