How to understand Islam in Afghanistan

Afghan Muslims celebrate the death of a Muslim leader during a funeral procession in the southern province of Helmand, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2017.

The ceremony was attended by more than 2,000 people, according to provincial officials.

Babak Tajic, the provincial council member in Helmand province, said the crowd of about 1,000 was mostly young men, some wearing traditional burqas and some with head scarves, all of whom are members of the Islamic faith.

He said he was shocked when he learned of the procession, which drew about 200 people, including about 100 members of Afghanistan’s largest minority sect, the Druze.

“They’re doing a good job of showing support,” Tajic said.

He and other Afghan officials were not immediately available for comment.

The head of the religious affairs committee, Mohammed Shamsi, told Reuters the crowd included clerics and religious leaders from several regions.

“I don’t know who they are,” Shamsis deputy, Ahmad Saeed, told the AP.

“The Taliban’s main concern is that if we don’t eradicate the Taliban, they will spread in other parts of the country,” said Omar Aziz, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

The Taliban, which has waged an insurgency against the government of President Ashraf Ghani, have seized a number of provinces since 2014, including Helmand and Helmandi provinces.

They have denied responsibility for the bombing and said they are fighting for their core values.

Afghan President Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is attending the funerals of the three attackers, who were killed in an air raid in Helman province on Aug. 14.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack, which it claimed was carried out by the Afghan government.

In a statement, the Taliban said the bombings “disproportionately killed innocent civilians and targeted the people of Afghanistan.”

Afghan security officials and government officials have blamed the Taliban for a number the recent attacks in the country, which have left scores of people dead and injured hundreds more.

The United States has also said that the Taliban and other militant groups are using the country as a recruiting ground for foreign fighters, including members of al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that “the Taliban will not allow anyone to harm Afghan civilians.”

“We will continue our fight until the whole world is free from the Taliban,” he added. ___