The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a statement on Tuesday that the militants were arrested in separate operations across the capital Kabul over the past 72 hours.
"Twenty-six members of the terrorist group including one of their group leaders, Abdullah, were detained in capital Kabul," the statement read.
NDS spokesperson Tasal Khan confirmed that the terrorists were currently under investigation for planning "attacks on Ashura ceremonies", Presstv Reported.
"These terrorists were detained over the past three days in Kabul."
People across Afghanistan prepare to hold mourning processions to mark the day of Ashura, which is the climax of mourning rituals during the lunar month of Muharram. The event commemorates the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and third Shia Imam.
The mourning rituals peak on the 10th day, traditionally known as Ashura, when the Imam and 72 of his companions were martyred at the hands of the despot to whom they had refused to pledge allegiance.
Over the last two years, the terrorist group has carried out dozens of attacks on mosques, religious and political gatherings as well as sports clubs and education centers of the Afghan Shia community, including an attack during Ashura in 2016, in which nearly 20 people were killed.
On September 5, at least 20 people were killed and nearly 70 others injured in twin bombings inside a sports club in a mainly Shia Muslim area of western Kabul.
Repeated terror attacks against Shia Muslims have led the Afghan government to beef up security in Kabul in recent days, especially in neighborhoods that are home to the Hazara Shia community. The Hazara Shia community, the poorest of the country’s ethnic groups, accounts for about 22 percent of Afghanistan’s population. Its members have been targeted in several large-scale kidnappings and killings across Afghanistan in the past, prompting demonstrations and sit-ins in Kabul and elsewhere.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a recent report that a certain group affiliated with Daesh had targeted voter registration centers, public gatherings, and schools, singling out Afghanistan’s Shia community for attack. At the same time, people living in areas where these groups hold sway have experienced airstrikes by US and Afghan government forces that killed and injured more than 350 civilians between January and June.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said last year civilian casualties in sectarian attacks across Afghanistan, primarily against Shia mosques, had sharply risen.
The rise of Daesh in Afghanistan has triggered concerns in a country that has already been torn apart by decades of Taliban-led militancy and the 2001 invasion of the United States and its allies.
Daesh, which has been crushed in Iraq and Syria, has reportedly managed to take recruits from Taliban defectors in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan.